• My name is Marilena Barbera
    and I am a winegrower.
    I live and make my wines in Menfi, Sicily.

Coda della Foce, Super Sicilian wine
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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

My story

My story

We have been winegrowers for three generations: a 100 years long story, a legacy of love and respect
Wine book

Wine book

Always up-to-date with all available wines and vintages: ready for browsing, or for immediate download

Photo album

Photo album

My book of photo shots from my vineyard in Sicily, available in HR for download - please cite the source

Video gallery

Video gallery

My YouTube channel with harvest stories, tastings, travels and meetings with very special people


Between a road map and a winery notebook, a personal digital moleskine with notes on winemaking, tastings and events, people I meet, places I see: my everyday life in the wine world.

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