In the year 2000, Mimmo Costanzo and his wife, Valeria, purchased 7 visually stunning hectares in the Contrada Santo Spirito cru, pressed onto the north slope of Mt. Etna.
As this terraced ‘moonscape’ lies partially within the Parco dell’Etna, the estate is actually part of a protected Unesco site. Ergo, while the Costanzo’s have added a few more hectares in the interim, nothing can be altered or changed over time.
Their vines range in age from 7 to an incredible 120 years, with altitudes spanning 550 – 800 meters and roots diving down into volcanic sands and lava-based basalt. At 8,000 vines per hectare, the plant density recalls Valle d’Aosta, with its packed terraces clinging onto steep slopes.
Combined with picking by hand, organic farming, and low yields, this unique set of conditions helps to create some of the most astonishing wines in the Small Vineyards portfolio.
Baseline of all Palmento Costanzo’s red wines is the formidable Nerello Mascalese. A late-ripening varietal, this grape is known for taut, herbaceous flavors, along with high minerality and nuanced, earthy tones.
Surprisingly, DNA suggests that it’s actually the once-upon-a-time offspring of Sangiovese! Growing alongside it is Nerello Cappuccio, a ‘little brother’ that ripens slightly earlier, and whose color and perfume are used to soften the edges of Mascalese. Both clones of Nerello are high in natural acidity and possess pronounced “vertical” tannins, making a compare/contrast with old-fashioned Nebbiolo a fascinating exercise.
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