The wines of Graci, Sicily
Impressive, authentic wines from Alberto Graci, Mount Etna


Alberto Graci’s grandfather used to make wine in Sicily, from vineyards in the centre of the island. As with many at the time, the approach was to produce quantity, not quality. Graci, however, studied in Rome and then went on to work as an investment banker in Milan.

His grandfather’s death changed things. ‘I came back home,’ he says, ‘and sold my grandfather’s land, and bought vineyards on Etna.’ So he’s returned to his Sicilian roots, but moved to a part of the island where there’s a real buzz at the moment. Since his return in 2004, he’s been making some very interesting wines.

Alberto Graci’s main property is in Passopisciaro, in the northeast part of Etna. Callued Acurìa, it’s 25 hectares, with 18 hectares of vines, of which 15 hectares are Nerello Mascalese (Etna’s top red grape), 1.5 hectares Carricante and 1 hectare Catarratto. The altitude is between 600 and 660 metres. ‘I want to use the indigenous grape varieties to express my terroirs,’ says Graci. ‘If I want a Pinot Noir, I can get it from elsewhere.’

The jewel in his crown is a small vineyard called Barbalecchi, which is a 5 hectare plot planted with 2 hectares of pre-phylloxera Nerello on its own roots. This is at 1000 metres, is harvested in November, and requires no treatments at all – not even Bordeaux mixture.

‘Etna is a special place,’ says Graci. He cites three reasons. First, it has the sun of Sicily but a climate moderated by altitude. Second, it has volcanic soils. Third, it has old ungrafted vineyards.

His wines are really interesting and authentic, and worth seeking out.


Graci Etna Blanco 2010
A blend of Carricante and Catarratto. Fresh and quite taut with citrus and mineral notes, as well as some precision. Citrussy with a bit of pithiness. Lively stuff. 90/100

Graci Etna Rosso 2009
Made with natural yeasts and no temperature control, this is a varietal Nerello Mascalese. Pale cherry red colour. Fresh, bright cherry fruit nose with a distinctive savoury, slightly rubbery, smoky edge to it. The palate is bright, elegant and expressive with fine cherry fruit and some spicy notes. An interesting wine. 91/100

Graci Quota 600 Etna Rosso 2009
From a small, old, ungrafted vineyard at 1000 m. Pale colour. Fine red cherry and spice nose is perfumed. The palate is supple, sappy and light with expressive cherry fruit. Lovely fruit and nice texture, with some tannic grip on the finish. 93/100

Graci Quota 600 Etna Rosso 2008
Pale in colour. Perfumed with sweet cherry fruit and some savoury spiciness too. The palate is textured with some fruit sweetness and also lovely savoury spicy notes. Lively, mineral and quite profound. 94/100

UK availability: these wines are stocked by Berry Bros & Rudd

See also:

The wines of COS, Sicily
Mount Etna tasting

Wines tasted 09/11  
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