Grower Website Valenti Region: italy - sicily

A true Sicilian, Giovanni Valenti is from Catania, Sicily’s second largest city which lies on the eastern coast of the island in sight of Mount Etna. He comes from a family of sailors in Catania where Giovanni grew up. Here is where he married, raised a family, and worked. After a stint as a naval officer, Giovanni became a sales manager for Lavazza, the giant coffee producer. He studied accounting and finance. For twenty-two years he was an executive responsible for sales at Stock di Trieste, a venerable producer of wines, sparkling wines, whiskey, brandy, grappa, and an entire range of liqueurs. Alessandro, Giovanni’s son, chose sales and marketing in the fashion industry as his path. He has held marketing management positions with Louis Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and Gianni Versace.

The wine story begins in the 1970s. Giovanni was an executive with Stock di Trieste and was accompanying a film crew covering the Festa dell’Etna, a very large bacchanalian fest in Linguaglossa, near the town of Passopisciaro in Sicily. Although Giovanni was a well versed wine drinker, he really did not know the fine wines of the Etna region. After their film shoot, the group was offered some well-aged Nerello Mascalese from barrel. As the saying goes, it was love at first sip! Giovanni vowed then that someday he would produce a wine of this quality and show the world that Etna, too, could make great wine. At the time, little recognition was bestowed upon this tiny appellation and Giovanni wanted to prove the potential for the greatness that Etna had to offer.

Fast forward thirty years and Giovanni Valenti was ready for a second career. Alessandro was now an experienced marketer and was excited about the opportunity to work with his father. Both loved wine. To put the Valenti name on a winery and try to become one the regions finest producers would be a dream come true for both Giovanni and Alessandro.

In 2004, the father-son duo began acquiring vineyard land in the Etna region. The first vineyard purchase was a 4 hectare (9.8 acre) historic vineyard much in need of repair. They soon discovered an old distillery in Passopisciaro, built in 1890 but abandoned in 1954, with an excellent cellar for wine. Fully refurbishing the building and filling it with the latest wine making technology was the founding of Cantine Valenti. In 2009, the Valenti name was on the door of a winery with a unique mix of modern architecture enriched by the original stone walls of the ancient distillery. For the Valentis, the past, the present and the future were under one roof.

Giovanni scouted the area and soon after purchased an additional 8 hectares (19.8 acres) of land. In 2009, 6 more hectares (14.8 acres) in Contrada Bonanno planted with Nerello Mascalese was purchased. Then they were on to planting olive trees in Contrada Cottanera and a purchase of 5 more hectares (12.5 acres) in Contrada Arcuria. A Contrada Santo Spirito vineyard planted to 50 year old Carricante vines was added in 2014.  2015 saw further expansion with a purchase of 2.5 hectares (6.3 acres) in Contrada Corvo.

Being avid lovers of literature and music, the names of their wines reflect this passion.

Enrico IV
Henry IV (Enrico IV) is an Italian novel by Luigi Pirandello. The native vine Carricante receives its amazing mineral richness from the volcanic soil. The vineyards for this wine are I Guardiola and Contrada Arcuria at about 700 meters above sea level.

Puritani
I puritani (The Puritans) is an opera in three acts by Vincenzo Bellini who was born in Catania in 1801. The opera is about a famous battle and with a smile on his face, Giovanni draws parallels between this story and the hard work by he and his family to shape Cantine Valenti as it appears today. The label is a reproduction of the original musical score written by Vincenzo Bellini. Puritani is an Etna Bianco DOC made from Nerello Mascalese grown in Contrada Guardiola, 800 meters above sea level.

Norma
Norma is another opera this time in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini. Nerello Mascalese grown in Contrada Bonanno and Contrada Corvo from Guardiola are used for making Norma. The vineyards are at 600-800 meters above sea level.

Poesia
Poetry in Italian. In 2009, Giovanni created his rosato Poesia. Nerello Mascalese grapes from Contrada Bonanno are used to produce this wine. The label is dedicated to Salvatore Quasimodo, Nobel Prize winner for Poetry.

Ms. Francesca Lombardo-Valenti is the Chairman of Cantine Valenti. Giovanni handles the commercial and administrative duties. As a CPA with over 50 years of experience in marketing and distribution, he comes well prepared for the job. Alessandro, President of EMEA for a leading luxury company, is the world ambassador for the winery covering many of the key markets. Alessandro’s two young sons, Leonardo and Tommaso, are the next generation of potential winemakers.

WINEMAKER
Winemaker consultant Emiliano Falsini was brought on board. With his expertise in making natural wines, ones using very little added sulphites and no other chemical additions, the Valenti wine style began to take shape. After many years working with the grapes from their vineyards and refining their winemaking in the cantine, Valenti wines are true expressions of purity of fruit, sense of the terroir, and balance.

Andrea Marletta, a talented local agronomist manages the vineyards and Adriano Gangi supervises most of the winery operations.

 

Country Italy
Region Sicily
Appellation(s) Mount Etna
Proprietors Giovanni & Alessandro Valenti (father & son)
Founded 2000
Winemaker Emiliano Falsini
Annual Production 4,000 9L cases
Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic) Sustainable

VINEYARDS
In 2004, as luck would have it, the first Valenti purchase was the famed Guardiola vineyard, the highest vineyard in Etna at 700-800m (2296-2624 ft). Subsequent purchases, including a vineyard older than 100 years, have also proven to be outstanding. The Valenti holdings are a mixture of some very old vines (mostly 40-50 years of age) and new plantings. The vineyards are all some of the highest in the Etna region and with elevation comes cooler terroir. The vineyards are planted primarily with the famed red variety of the region, Nerello Mascalese, a little Nerello Cappuccio, and for white wine Carricante.

Giovanni scouted the area and soon after purchased an additional 8 hectares (19.8 acres) of land. In 2009, 6 more hectares (14.8 acres) in Contrada Bonanno planted with Nerello Mascalese was purchased. Then they were on to planting olive trees in Contrada Cottanera and a purchase of 5 more hectares (12.5 acres) in Contrada Arcuria. A Contrada Santo Spirito vineyard planted to 50 year old Carricante vines was added in 2014.  2015 saw further expansion with a purchase of 2.5 hectares (6.3 acres) in Contrada Corvo.

Enrico IV
The native vine Carricante receives its amazing mineral richness from the volcanic soil. The vineyards for this wine are I Guardiola and Contrada Arcuria at about 700 meters above sea level.

Puritani
Puritani is an Etna Bianco DOC made from Nerello Mascalese grown in Contrada Guardiola, 800 meters above sea level.

Norma
Nerello Mascalese grown in Contrada Bonanno, Contrada Corvo and in Guardiola are used for making Norma. The vineyards are at 600-800 meters above sea level.

Poesia
In 2009, Giovanni created his rosato Poesia. Nerello Mascalese grapes from Contrada Bonanno are used to produce this wine.

Giovanni is rigorous about implementing organic farming practices and uses only natural products to prevent disease and treat the vines. The diversity of plants and herbs throughout the vineyards is testimony to these farming efforts. Add soil tilled by donkeys and other farm animals, plus hand-harvesting, and you get true artisan viticulture.

WINERY
In 2004, the father-son duo began acquiring vineyard land in the Etna region. They soon discovered an old distillery in Passopisciaro, built in 1890 but abandoned in 1954, with an excellent cellar for wine. Fully refurbishing the building and filling it with the latest wine making technology was the founding of Cantine Valenti. The Valenti name was on the door.

To christen the winery in a very family way, Alessandro’s sons, born in New York, were baptized in the cellar of Cantine Valenti to create in them a sense of belonging.

Wine Blend Vine Age Soil Type Vineyard Area
Total = 26 ha
Enrico IV Bianco Carricante Planted 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 Black volcanic; tan volcanic
Norma Rosso Nerello Masalese Planted 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 Black volcanic; tan volcanic & clay
Poesia Rosato Nerello Masalese Planted 2011 Black volcanic; tan volcanic
Puritani Rosso Nerello Masalese Planted 2004 Black volcanic