Throughout the course of the Italian wine industry there have been many innovators. Some focus on bringing new techniques into the world of wine. They may take an approach to barrelling or ageing their wines that other producers haven’t thought of, creating subtle differences that set their wines apart from the rest. Others focus on the growing of their grapes and different combinations that may not fit with the traditionally accepted norms of the industry but create wines whose qualities cannot be denied.
In some cases, these innovators get vilified by some in the wine establishment. Their efforts fall upon deaf ears for a while, at least until the quality of their products shine through. Others find an industry that is more than willing to accept their work. At times, it can feel like the luck of the draw.
Today’s spotlighted wine producer is a true innovator. It was in the 1960s that many first recognized the work of Tasca D’Almerita. The company came to the fore when it produced a brand new reserve of Regaleali Rosso that was capable of longer ageing than any that had come before it. Since then, Tasca D’Almerita’s reputation has only grown and the company now stands alongside some of the best producers in Italy.
Before we take a look at its modern standing, we should examine the history of Tasca D’Almerita. It’s a heritage that stretches back almost two hundred years, so there is plenty to dig into.
The story starts in 1830. That is when the brothers Carmelo and Lucio Mastrogiovanni Tasca purchased 1,200 hectares of land in Sicily. Their aim was to grow grapes for use in their wines and they were intent on introducing the modern winemaking techniques of the time into their efforts. Together, the brothers introduced an array of technology that winemakers in the rural areas of Sicily had not yet encountered, lending them an immediate edge over the competition and the ability to produce great wines at higher volumes.
Ten years later, the brothers purchased Villa Tasca with the dowry Lucio received upon marriage, adding that extra touch of prestige that many see as so important in the Italian wine industry. That villa, which still stands today, served as the base of operations for the growing wine company and signalled Tasca D’Almerita’s intent of becoming one of the most respected producers in its region.
The land of Regaleali soon goes on to become one of the most prestigious agricultural areas in Italy. In 1854, the land received the “model farm” designation for the quality of the agricultural work that took place on it. During this period, the family focused primarily on traditional agriculture. Even so, their love for the wine industry did not falter. Even as the regular farming business boomed, the brothers dedicated a portion of their land to vineyards so that they could continue producing wines.
This dedication received its own reward in 1871. This is when the wine that the farm produced received a special medal for its quality at the Siracusa Expo. Wine lovers really began to take notice of this remarkable farm in Sicily and the family redoubled its efforts to both maintain its reputation in traditional agriculture and continue developing the fame it was earing for the quality of its wines.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck as the 19th century drew to a close. The Tasca D’Almerita vineyards fell to the phylloxera epidemic that brought the Italian wine industry to its knees during this period. The family responded quickly. They built a special nursery that they would use to nurse their remaining vines, alongside new vines imported from the Americas, back to health. It was during this period that the family underwent its biggest struggles. However, their dedication to the craft ensured they survived where others may have faltered.
In 1901, these efforts came to fruition. This is when the company’s special Camastra wine was introduced to the masses. The wine was an immediate sensation, winning prizes internationally for its quality. Out of the embers of its previous vineyards, the family had created the first wine that gave them true international exposure. This acclaim would continue to grow as the years passed and the focus on traditional agriculture shifted to a full dedication to the wine industry.
The estate shrunk to 500 hectares in the 1950s and the family dedicated more of its land than ever before to winemaking. Before too long, the company had introduced its first white wine and the inaugural vintage of its Riserva Del Conte.
More innovation followed. The firebrand Lucio Tasca introduced five new grape varieties into the vineyards. His father had no idea at the time, but these grapes would offer the family much more flexibility in its wine producing efforts.
The company continued to grow, introducing new wines throughout the latter 20th century and into the 21st. They also underwent a period of expansion, culminating in them earning the Winery of the Year Award in 2014.
Today, Tasca D’Almerita focuses on sustainability in its wine production. It was the first estate to receive the Viva – SOStain designation and the company continues to go from strength to strength.
As you can see, this is a won producer with an awful lot of heritage behind it. Now, let’s take a look at one of the best wines that it has produced in recent times.
This stunning red is the culmination of Count Giuseppe’s efforts from the 1960s. Its complexity and deep taste is a true joy to behold and we must recommend it to anybody who wishes to explore Tasca D’Almerita.
The ruby red colouring contains just the slightest hints of violet. Upon pouring, you will instantly recognize notes of cherry and wild berries. Dig a little deeper and you should detect a dash of mint, some sage, a little vanilla, and even a touch of tobacco.
It is to the taste that these flavours combine as one. The ripeness of the fruit notes will astound you, all while you bask in the wine’s fragrant glow. A perfect balance is achieved, making Tasca d’Almerita Contea di Sclafani Rosso del Conte 2012 a perfect wine for aficionados and novices alike.
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