Goats and Volcanoes are an Earthly Match #WinePW
Volcanic Wines for October Wine Pairing Weekend
The theme for our October Wine Pairing Weekend group is: Volcanic Wines. When I think of volcanoes and wine, I can only think of Sicily and Mount Etna. There are lots of places in the world where grapevines grow in volcanic soil, but I can only think of one where the grapes grow on the slopes of an active volcano.
The vineyards are not just located in Sicily, they are literally on the lower elevations of Mt. Etna. Does a volcano produce a unique wine, or is it just a great story? I can’t tell you that the volcanic soil makes something unique, as there is also the altitude, climate, the nearby ocean, which all combine to create the conditions that define Etna DOC wines.
Etna DOC Wines
The Etna DOC regulations allow for white, rosato (rosé), and red wines. I’ve not seen any Etna Rosato yet, but both the whites and the reds are worth searching out! The foothills of the volcano provide conditions unlike many other parts of Sicily:
- High altitude 400-1500 meters – for large day-night temperature swings
- East exposure – plenty of precipitation in the fall & winter, dry in the summer. Contributes to an ability to grow grapes organically, as disease pressure is low. You can even see the green landscape in the satellite photo above.
Valle Galfina Etna Bianco ($18 at Zipps Liquors)
Etna Bianco wines are made from indigenous grapes: Carricante (minimum 60%) and Catarratto (no more than 40%). Usually medium bodied with good acidity.
Eye: Clear, medium/warm yellow (more towards pineapple than lemon)
Nose: Shy nose, ripe pears, but you have to work for it.
Mouth: Medium body, rich, seems to have spent time in oak or concrete? Mouthwatering finish, good acidity.
I Custodi delle Vigne dell’Etna Aetneus Etna Rosso ($39 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Etna Rosato and Etna Rosso wines are made from another set of autochthonous grapes: Nerello Mascalese (minimum 80%) and Nerello Cappuccio/Mantellato (no more than 20%). Drinking an Etna Rosso will bring to mind Pinot Noir. It’s not the same, but it expresses some similar characteristics: medium body, lower tannins, good acidity; and I love it!
Eye: Just a touch cloudy, deep translucent red, tending to warmth on the edge. Not brown at all, but no longer blue/purple.
Nose: Mushroomy earth and dark fruit. Reminds me a bit of a nice CdR. By itself, the fruit is not in front.
Mouth: Immediately dry and astringent, but either not super tannic or well integrated tannins.
Goat Shanks & Volcanoes, White or Red?
If you have hesitated to try goat, don’t! It’s quite mild, much less challenging than lamb. “Messina” is a general preparation, applicable to a wide variety of meats and even fish such as swordfish. It generally involves tomatoes, olives & capers (make sure you get the larger salt packed capers for this dish). Between the olives and the capers, there is flavor to spare. This is a dish that’s easy to prepare and tasty enough for company.
How about the wine pairing? The Valle Galfina Etna Bianco had sufficient body to stand up to the flavors in the main dish. White wine lovers would be happy with this pairing. As for the Etna Rosso, there was an amazing transformation with the food. The I Custodi doesn’t lead with fruit, but with food, the fruit flavors emerge in a wonderful way. Lovely. A match made in heaven? Vulcan would say: “No!”, it must be a match made in the center of the earth. White or red – win/win.
Wine Pairing Weekend Volcanic Edition
If you see this on Saturday morning, Sept. 12, please join in on our twitter chat at 10am CDT! We’ll be chatting at #WinePW about wines from volcanic soil around the world and food pairings to match.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm will share #WinePW presents Volcanic Wine and Food Pairings
- Christy, the Culinary Diva, at Confessions of a Culinary Diva is posting Coastal Cuisine meets Volcanic Wines
- David at Cooking Chat paired Volcanic Cab, Potatoes and Beef
- Here at Culinary Adventure with Camilla you’ll find Wines from Scorched Terroir Around the Globe
- Sarah of Curious Cuisiniere wrote Australian Style Grilled Shrimp and Not So VolcanicAustralian Wine
- Lori at Dracaena Wines titled her post From the Ashes a Terroir Shall be Woken #WinePW
- Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog gives us A Taste of Greece: Grilled Branzini with Ladolemono Paired with Hatzidakis Assyrtiko
- Erin at Platings and Pairings whipped up some Pork Chops with Cherry Sauce
- Nancy at Pull that Cork made some Arancini Paired with Etna Rosso for #winePW
- Michelle at Rockin Red Blog is writing about Volcanic Wine: Erupting with Flavor
- Jade at Tasting Pour shared State Soil, Stoller Wine, and a Secret Recipe? #winepw
- Jennifer at Vino Travels went with a Sicilian volcanic wine pairing: Pasta Alla Norma with Nerello Mascalese
Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli’s “Made in Sicily” Ingredients Instructions
Goat Shanks Messina
Note: Goat shanks can be difficult to find, you can substitute lamb shanks, lamb chops, or even pork chops in this recipe.
Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli’s “Made in Sicily”