Calderara Sottana’s soil is easily recognizable at first sight. Of all the crus of the Etna appellation it is by far the stoniest. So much so, that in the most remarkable examples you cannot see the soil for the stones: fist sized, light weight, black volcanic pumice. The word Calderara is reminiscent of “caldera” or “cauldron”, probably due to the fact that the black rocks hold the day’s heat through part of the night. The terroir in contrada Calderara is originated by lava flows and volcanoclastic deposits related to the effusive and explosive activity of the the Ellittico eruptive center, which dates back from 60,000 to 15,000 years ago. Although very young by geological standards, the soils from the Ellittico eruption are the oldest superficial strata in which one may plant. The reason is simple: millennia of lava flows have buried all older soils, leaving, in fact, only very small and rare parcels of Ellittico soils. On the northern slopes of Etna there are four or five Contrade that have terroir from the Ellittico. Three, however, have mixed soils, blending soil from Ellittico of igneous nature with alluvial soils of sedimentary nature due to the overflowing of the Alcantara river. Only two Contrade out of hundreds and hundreds are “pure” terroir Ellittico: Calderara and San Lorenzo. I wanted to mention this on their labels, so as to facilitate a distinction. The elevation is 600-700 metres. Harvest is sometime in the second to third week of October. Locally the cru has an outstanding reputation. Our Calderara Sottana is a single vineyard wine produced only from vineyards between 50-100 years old. Of all our single vineyard wines it is perhaps the most complete: much like a wide angle lens encompasses the most ample panorama, so Calderara seems to contain and display the widest spectrum of flavors, bouquets, nuances. Floral and spicy, leathery and aromatic, it delivers a wonderful filling sensation on the palate, yet stepping lightly. Don Peppino, whose devotion to Calderara led him to work our vineyards for seventy years, best describes the wines of Calderara: they are “creamy”, he says. And he’s right. Poultry, red meats, game, pasta, pecorino and bread.
94 James Suckling:
"More dried-fruit character in this than in others from here; it's a red driven by dried strawberries, frozen raspberries, cherry liqueur and dried herbs. Good savoriness and meatiness to the full-bodied palate, which rolls neatly through the underlying richness with poise and finesse. The tannins are round yet structured; the finish is medium-long. Drink from 2021."
93 Wine Spectator:
"A fragrant red, offering lilac and sandalwood notes that lace the ripe raspberry, iron and Earl Grey tea flavors, echoing on the finish. Deftly knit, with a sense of grace and poise to the interaction of the fine-grained tannins and mouthwatering acidity. Drink now through 2030."