June 14, 2016

Visiting Gorghi Tondi Sicily

By In Visiting Sicily, Wine Notes
There is a delightful Sicilian cart (carretto siciliano in Italian and carrettu sicilianu in Sicilian or carretti (plural)) in a corner of the Gorghi Tondi baglio. Vibrantly red Bourgainvillea add colourful splashes to the interior walls and cool corners offer seats and resting areas. Baglio are historic walled strongholds (pirates abounded at one time) with buildings set around an interior courtyard. Several wineries have a baglio as a base, many offer rooms and have a restaurant in addition to wine making facilities; Gorghi Tondi is one.

Two sisters, Annamaria and Clara Sala, run the Gorghi Tondi estate. Their great-grandmother founded the company. Surrounding the impressive and nicely restored Baglio are 130 hectares of vines, lakes forming part of a WWF Nature Reserve and, just over the way, the sea. To put the size in proportion to other producers Gorghi Tondi produce, on average, a million bottles each year. 18 wines form the current offering ranging from sparkling white and rosé, through the ‘usual’ Grillo’s, Zibibbo’s and Nero d’Avola’s to more unusual, for Sicily, Mullar Thurgau and a late harvest, noble rot-enhanced sweet wine.

The sparkling duo, under the Palmares label, are mighty fine examples. The white is made from grillo, the rosé from Nero d’Avola. If you are feeling a bit wine-nerdy it is interesting to compare the colour of a rosé’s with the length of time the wine maker choses to leave the juice in contact with the skins. In this case it was 24 hours. A serious rosé to be sure. Palmares is derived from a Latin term meaning “worthy of victory“.

“Our vineyard is located in a nature reserve, we grow grapes d’eccellenza for four generations, with the utmost respect for nature, in harmony with the territory and fauna surrounding our vineyards. We use clean energy, excluding any practice harmful to the conservation of biodiversity” Gorghi Tondi

A gloriously fragrant red was opened – Sorante from Nero d’Avola. Sorante is an heraldic term meaning a “bird taking flight“. That fab aroma overlaid a deep, almost blood red colour and a nicely structured flavourful wine. Two grillo’s followed from different ranges. The top end version, Gorghi Tondi Grillo Coste A Preola, offered just an edge more richness and concentration, as you would expect, with a striking mouthfeel and depth of peach and vanilla flavours. I’ve read notes from others detecting a salty, saline quality to the grillo’s. I cant say that my limited tasting abilities picked out that nuance; with the sea being just a breath of wind away perhaps exerts some influence on the taster if not the wine itself.

“Ridges in Preola, name chosen to identify the area in which lie the vineyards from which the grapes for this wine and that surround the WWF natural reserve Lago Preola e Gorghi Tondi underlines the strong relationship between our company and the nature reserve.”

Another winery I could have happily stayed at all afternoon; not just sampling the wine range, we only had time for a sampling across the range, but for exploring the vineyards outside the baglio and the nature reserve. I didn’t see the lakes nor even spot the sea. Next time…

Photo Gallery: Visiting Gorghi Tondi Sicily

Albion Wine Shippers currently lists seven wines from Gorghi Tondi ranging in price from £8.95 to £17.50.

A word on the photos – I thought the wonderful vaulted ceiling of the barrel room warranted a conversion to black and white. Or sepia as I eventually settled on. The soft light, most evident in black and white, revealed so many subtle tones and highlighted the curves in a celebratory, cathedral-like fashion. I seemed right to process the whole set of images in the same fashion.

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1 Comment
  1. One million bottles a year? That’s a staggering amount that’s difficult to imagine. Like the sepia effect.


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