Location and surface area of the Domaine Terre Nere vineyard
Situated high up on the northern slope of Mount Etna, in the region of Sicily, in Italy, Tenuta delle Terre Nere is one of the greatest Sicilian wine producers. This 45-hectare vineyard of the DOC Etna appellation is perched on the slopes of Europe's highest active volcano, offering a terroir as unique as it is surprising. Rich in volcanic soil and a humid microclimate, this Sicilian highland terroir gives life to exceptional, distinctive wines.
The name Etna takes its origin from the Greek root "aith," which translates as "I burn" - an image that could not better illustrate the ardour of the Terre Nere wines.
All you need to know about the Tenuta Terre Nere terroir
A mosaic of terroirs
Located between Solicchiata and Randazzo, Tenuta delle Terre Nere (or the "estate of black earth"), has been owned by Marco De Grazia since 2002. Here, a wide variety of lavic and sandy terroirs have formed over thousands of years, creating a variety of very complex soils. These geological subtleties have allowed the identification of numerous plots and vintages. Here, the best plots are isolated in nine "contradas" or "crus" which are spread over various geographical areas. To the north, the estate has seven crus: Calderara Sottana, San Lorenzo, Bocca d'Orzo, Guardiola, Santo Spirito, Moganazzi and Feudo di Mezzo. Finally, to the east and south are the Contrada Salice and Montalto crus.
The Tenuta delle Terre Nere vineyards have been organically cultivated since 2002 and were certified in 2010.
A unique microclimate
Perched between 600 and 1,000 metres above sea level, the Etna vineyard is characterised by a marked thermal amplitude. The strong temperature differences between day and night and the extreme microclimatic differences in the vineyard promise wines of great scope.
Exceptional grape varieties
The vines that make up this vineyard are between 50 and 140 years old. True survivors of phylloxera, some of the vines on the estate are over 140 years old! Among the oldest in Europe, the grapes from these old vines are used to create the Prephylloxera cuvée.
Trusting in Sicilian traditions and resources, Tenuta delle Terre Nere uses the island's native grape varieties such as Catarrato, Carricante, Inzolia and Grecanico for its DOC Etna Bianco. The Etna Rosso DOCs feature the vineyard's indigenous black grapes, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio.
Winemaking techniques at Domaine Terre Nere
For vinification, Marco de Grazia uses a semi-buried cellar. The wines are vinified in tuns and stainless steel tanks. Confident in his terroir and proud of its richness, Marco de Grazia allows the fermentation to take place using wild and natural yeasts. Finally, the wine is matured in oak barrels and tuns with 10 to 15% new wood for a period of 16 to 20 months.
The style of Terre Nere wines
The wines of Tenuta delle Terre Nere, all of which are appellation d'origine contrôlée (controlled designation of origin) DOC Etna, are fragrant and typical. Sometimes spicy with the Feudo di Mezzo (red), sometimes fleshy with the Santo Spirito (white), the wines of Tenuta delle Terre Nere are expressive and precise and reflect all the authenticity of these particular volcanic soils.