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LA VOTA

CABERNET SAUVIGNON MENFI DOC

CABERNET SAUVIGNON MENFI DOC

Along the western border of Belicello, the Belice River flows lazily drawing wide spirals: groves of reeds flourish along the dikes, a home for wild bees, little amphibians and migrant birds.

Inside one of those loops, which we have always called La vota, the soil is sandy and deep and is invaded by the River’s waters every couple of years. As a result, a huge amount of sediments collects, enriching the terrain with mineral components.

Here I grow the Cabernet Sauvignon, son of the River, the sand and the Mediterranean Sea.

THE SHORT STORY

THE SHORT STORY

Grape variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Tenuta Belicello, Vigna La Vota
Soil: light sandy soil with silty components
Vineyard: planted in 1999, vertical shoot positioning, spur pruned cordon
Winemaking: skin contact for about 12 days in stainless steel tanks
Alcoholic fermentation: spontaneous, with wild yeast
Malolactic fermentation: spontaneous, in old barriques
Refining: minimum 15 months in large neutral Slavonian oak barrels, and 12 more months in bottles
Average production: 3.000 bottles/year

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THE VINEYARD LA VOTA

THE VINEYARD LA VOTA

La Vota is a “loop” of the Belìce River that was originally covered with swamps, where my grandfather and uncles used to go for hunting wild ducks and eels. In the late ‘50s my father developed an ambitious project to reclaim that area, building a complex drainage system that dried up a total of five hectares where he started to experiment with different grape varieties.

This is today a very fertile area, made of virgin soils that have never been cultivated before 1980.
Here the microclimate is very humid, with the sea breeze blowing all day long; thanks to the River waters evaporation, average temperatures are a few degrees cooler than those recorded in the rest of the property. The terrain is light and sandy, with a good fraction of clay and silt.

The River is just behind: during the rainiest years the flood invades the Valley, and fresh waters submerge the vineyard for a few days. Not that the vines get hurt, because they are dormant in December and January; the flood comes and goes, leaving sediments that enrich the terrain with a strong mineral component.

The sole variety that can survive this unique terroir is Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives birth to a uniquely fresh and spicy wine that is very different from any other Cabs you have ever drank before.

Read more about La Vota

WINEMAKING

The Cabernet Sauvignon is picked only at night in the second part of September. I perform a selective defoliation a couple of weeks before the harvest, in order to allow a better air circulation among the grapes and to minimize the risk of mildew infections.

Brought to the winery after the harvest, the grapes are destemmed and crushed and the must ferments spontaneously with wild yeast for about 12 days in stainless steel tanks. Malolactic is also spontaneous, in old French barriques. After racking, the wine undergoes a long refining period that can last more than 15 months in 30 hl big Slavonian oak barrels.

Nor fined not filtered, La Vota refines in bottles for a minimum of 1 year before being released to the market, and can age for 6-10 years.

TASTING NOTES

La Vota has a really unique aromatic profile that depends more from the particular terroir than from the variety's character.
The wine has a bright ruby red color, with a distinct garnet hue. To the nose, fresh menthol notes merge into a persistent bouquet of berries, licorice and brown tobacco. On the palate, it is warm and full bodied, with velvety tannins and a long lasting finish of black chocolate and coffee.

It's a perfect companion of red meats, but it is also very good with pork belly and lamb chops thanks to its delicate aromatic taste and to its soft tannins. I suggest you to try it also with smoked ham, with spicy dishes and fresh blue cheeses. My favorite combination is with pork ribs. Either cooked the American way or the Sicilian version (here's my mother's recipe): La Vota, a juicy Cabernet Sauvignon, does not overpower the delicate flavor of the pork ribs and is perfect for rinsing its fattiness off your mouth, sip by sip.

SERVING TEMPERATURE: 57 - 61 °F
La Vota is not fined, nor filtered and should be poured in large Bordeaux style glasses at cellar temperature. Decanting is usually not necessary, except if you are tasting older vintages.

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