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Coda della Foce, Super Sicilian wine

Coda della Foce, a Super Sicilian

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The adaptation of international varieties to the Sicilian terroir: Coda della Foce and the birth of a Super Sicilian wine

It has been a long time since Robert Parker, tasting wines from Tuscany that didn’t adhere to the traditional blending laws for the region, invented the term “Super Tuscan”.

Those wines, breaking the rules of the Chianti appellation, are made basically with international grapes (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc), and often blended with the most important grape variety of Tuscany, the Sangiovese. Their winemaking focuses on a long refining in French barriques, which allows beautiful aging in bottles. They are rich and complex wines, and their quality is every bit as good as the more expensive French Bordeaux, though very similar in taste and style.

My father Pietro would only drink Bordeaux: he loved Pétrus (also because the wine had his same name I guess) and Margaux above all. Of course not something very affordable, and not for every day…

When he started making wine for his only pleasure, his first wines were made only with Merlot grapes. But the Merlot in Sicily is totally different from the one that is grown in France: our grapes get more ripe and are sweeter than the French ones, they can’t concentrate enough acidity for a long aging, and tannins are softer. Delaying the harvest to pursue a higher aromatic concentration often leads to over ripening. It was a big problem.
After he planted the Petit Verdot in Tenuta Belicello, things started to get better: Petit Verdot has beautiful rich tannins, amazing color and, most of all, it gets ripe later than the Merlot, with a higher degree of acidity. This was the solution for him: blending together Merlot and Petit Verdot, with a small amount of Nero d’Avola (10 to 20% in his first attempts), he could emulate the Bordeaux style he craved for, adding a touch of Sicilian personality.

La foce del BeliceCoda della Foce, literally “the tail of the river close to its mouth”, is the name that he chose after deciding to share this wine with friends.
It is a tribute to the Belice River, which flows in our property and has a terrific influence on micro-climate and on grapes’ development, creating a fresh environment whose main characteristic is a huge difference in temperatures - from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius - between day and night.

The three grapes that we use for the blend today are the same that he had chosen years ago: Nero d’Avola, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The contribution of each variety may change every vintage, and it depends on each grapes’ character, as we always look for overall balance among three different components: acidity, tannins and fruitiness being harmonically fused in a full bodied dark wine that can age for years.

A Bordeaux style wine with a strong Sicilian personality, that walks off the beaten path: a “Super Sicilian”! 


Tags: Nero d'Avola, Coda della Foce, merlot, petit verdot, Fiume Belice, Robert Parker, Super Tuscan

THE SHORT STORY

THE SHORT STORY

Grape variety: Inzolia grown in Dietro le Case vineyard
Soil: clay soil with calcareous components, very rich in limestones and sea minerals
Vineyard: planted in 1960s, head-trained bush vines
Winemaking: skin contact for 48 hours in steel tanks
Alcoholic fermentation: spontaneous, with wild yeast
Malolactic fermentation: spontaneous
Refining: 4 months on fine lees, in steel tanks
Aging: one oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment
Average production: a few dozen bottles every some years

Download wine sheet

WINEMAKING

The grapes are handpicked the first half of September, when they are fully ripe. The traditional pruning system - called "a pezzo e spalla" - and the age of the vines, allow slow constant ripening cycles and a great aromatic concentration.

The fermentation is spontaneous, with 2 days skin contact. After soft pressing, the fermentation continues for 8 days in steel tanks. After malolactic is completed, the wine refines on fine lees for about 4 months and is then racked into one single oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment.

The wine is bottled directly from the barrel no more than 2-3 times every decade.

TASTING NOTES

Altrimenti has a bright amber color, enlivened by golden hues. Its nose is predominantly tertiary, where fruity notes of apricot and ripe figs blend onto an intense and aromatic herbal background, enriched by roasted and dried nuts.

It is dry and full bodied to the palate, with a distinct savory personality that harmoniously meets a tannic finish.

SERVING TEMPERATURE: 54 - 58 °F
Pour Altrimenti in wide glasses, at a fresh but not chilled temperature.
Please avoid freezers and blast chillers, as well as a prolonged time in your home refrigerator: this wine is not filtered nor fined, and any temperature below 40 °F will mortify its complex aromas.

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