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Porta Del Vento boosts catarratto, a modest Sicilian white grape

Another example of a guy who has changed his life. Marco Sferlazzo was a pharmacist in Palermo. Friendly but not really hectic. And he thought about his grandfather who was a winemaker. When he was 8-10 y-o, Marco did fall in love with the grapes. When too much was too much, he stopped his first life to build its own domain, Porta Del Vento. It was ten years ago.

As much you suffocate in Palermo, as much you breathe in Camporeale. At 50 kilometers southeast of the cauldron that is the regional capital, are the mountains with breathtaking views.

And wind, a lot of wind. An opening towards the sea between two rocks : this is the famous ''door of the wind'', the space engulfed by wind during summer. Inevitably the soil suffers, rock erodes. A few thousands years after it gives a sandy soil.

Marco now reigns over 14 hectares and plagues against international grapes. Yes, we are in Sicily, we are not here to drink merlot, shit. Perricone, you know? Of course not, it only grows here. The reds and rosés (Maque wines) made from this grape meet a great success.

But the real nice discovery is catarratto, a native white grape. Typically it is internationalized by cutting it with chardonnay or sauvignon. Or as an extra juice to increase production. However more and more producers put catarratto in the bottle for itself.

Porta Del Vento released three totaly different types of whites from the same grape. My tenderness towards Mira is well established. This bubble has a genuine Sicilian identity. Perfumed and buttery. It obviously reminds me a nice champagne while keeping a southern side fairly uncommon. A great wine.

The non-sparkling Catarratto (2014) is fresh and acid without too much alcohol and quite elegant. It can be drunk from appetizer to dessert.

Finally the oddity of Porta del Vento : a skin-macerated catarratto ... A pretty original thing in Sicily although Marco told us that there is a small local tradition regarding orange wines. He began to experiment in 2007 after drinking Radikon bottles.

This cuvée Saray (sarai means "you will be") is a delectable wine with white meats, fish and especially Sicilian almonds desserts. Whether it's 2012 (30 days of contact) or 2009 (45 days) the wine is very different each time. Because of the altitude, Marco keeps it cool but power and oxidation vary depending on the vintage. Whether it's an orange wine, again it depends. Marco limits contact with oxygen and harvest-ripe. Because he doesn't want to have a too orange wine... it's harder to sell!

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