"He calls his wines Kaos... because with him it is really chaos..." The owner of the pizzeria Cave Ox warned me... But this warning made me feel very curious about Davide Begnanti, a winemaker on Mount Etna.
His Etnella brand exists since 2010. Davide life started with anything else, between the figures and the planes. But hus family heritage has taken over. Today he handles 6 hectares of vineyards and 4 of olive trees. So far everything is clear.
Davide Begnanti gives us an appointment at his house in the hills of Acireale, not too far from the touristic city of Taormina. We start by visiting his garden with vines and fruit trees.
Then we go to table. You soon realize that Davide did some tests on the labels of its bottles. A test, this means that he puts a new adhesive label on the first bottle at hand. Sometimes scratching, there are up to 3 different layers of paper. Tonight, few tasted wines match their label. Photos are superfluous. I had seen some original stuff among winemakers, but there is... Chaos !
Davide likes unseat the taster. In tasting fairs he serves his wines in plastic containers. People think that wine is not great then they change their minds. "I love starting 'from the bottom' and then you are surprised".
I really enjoyed his reds. This is probably, with Francesco Guccione's Machado, my favourite reds in Sicily. Thus the cuvée Notti Stellate, 2012, as a Lambrusco wine but with a true wine behind the bubble, not something that fades. Because it is made with Nerello mascalese, a kind of local pinot noir but here worked modestly... Well actually it's an experiment. But it would make a splash.
Now Villa Petrosa di Santo Spirito (2014). His idea is to make wine as his ancestors did. With this mixture of traditional red grapes (Nerello mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio) and white (catarratto). The superb light red color and a crisp fruit are unanimously praised. The conversation then goes on the traditional wines threatened by standardization. The answer is clear. "Someone who sits in Brussels can not tell me how to do my wine."
His bubble in 2013, he added musts 2014 instead of yeast ... The chaos again. I love its color raspberry somewhat old for a very refreshing wine despite a very vinous side that makes it a good dinner companion. In the manner of a great champagne bubble fades very quickly.
There's a lot of sulfur in it? Not really, he relies on the A.V.N. charter : "poco ma non troppo". If not at all.
Finally, the wines of chaos. Kaos Etna Bianco mixing two Sicilian white grape varieties, and Carricante catarratto. The volcanic stone gives something very mineral, very right. "But for me it is natural wine maceration". As follows, he opened his Kaos macerated X days. No orange or heavy, just vibrating.
He named Kaos these vintages in memory of the mathematical theory of chaos. Applied to wine, it gives a theorem that one knows "every vintage is different."
Out of control the nepitello , a kind of housemade chartreuse made with nepitella. This is the last product of this huge winemaker...