"We listen to the grapes, smell the earth, caress the vineyard. When the sun beats down, when cold nights are blowing on the vines, when they change the colors of the leaves, we are there. The wine, however, is not made by us.
The wine, here, is made by Etna." // Dino e Fabio Costantino
OUR STORY is the story of the Etna DOC, a protected area of traditional and historic wine production on the mid-slope of the volcano Etna, within the province of Catania. The Etna DOC embraces the volcano in the form of a semi-circle which follows the south, east and north of the mountain, rising up to 1,000 meters in some places.
OUR VINEYARDS are located on the south-eastern slope of Mount Etna, in the town of Viagrande, in Contrada Blandano. From the vineyard you can see the Mediterranean Sea and sense the saline aromas carried by the wind. Behind us, the volcano protects our vines from the cold and harsh northerly wind. At this latitude (37.6˚N), we are able to produce fruit-forward wines with vitality that are perfect for daily consumption.
OUR WINES were given life over the centuries, in the ancient wineries of Contrada Blandano, among the old palmenti (lava stone cellars) and today in our modern winery. By following the traditional viticultural practices and adaptations of our forefathers we have learned exalt the health of the grapes, limit defects, and amplify the natural sensations of Mount Etna’s indigenous grape varieties.
TODAY Dino and his son Fabio present their line of DeAetna wines to consumers and fans around the world. DeAetna is a wine of passion and sacrifice, filled with the potential of Etna, without frills, extremism or presumption … except that of living in a magical land.
OUR ESTATE is in the heart of the Etna DOC and covers 10 contiguous hectares (24 acres) of vineyards planted between 450 and 550 meters above sea level. We only cultivate the indigenous grapevines of Etna: Carricante and Catarratto for the white wines; Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio for the red wines.
THE VINES are trained in two ways. Vines trained in cordon spur have 0.9 meters between each vine and 2.0 meters between vine rows with an average density of about 5,000 vines per hectare (2,000+/acre). The rest of our vines are trained in alberello (bush vines) with a tighter planting scheme of 1.10 by 1.10 meters and a density of 8,000 plants per hectare (3,200+/acre).
WE BELIEVE in respecting the land and the environment, so we only produce wines that attain organic certification.
Wine changes from year to year. Nerello Mascalese and Carricante are particularly good interpreters of the subtle variations between growing seasons Each year they manage to surprise and excite us.
Wine has been made in Contrada Blandano since the days of the Greeks and Romans. The inscriptions in the company’s palmento date back to 1699. This was, in effect, the new palmento, rebuilt after a devastating eruption and earthquake in 1693 that destroyed most of Eastern Sicily. These inscriptions are not only reminders of our deep history, they demonstrate the powerful vocation of the local population to continue making wine from this remarkable site.
For many years the wines of Mount Etna were made for daily consumption or sold in bulk. The classic "farmer’s wine" trusted in the changes of the season, the harvest festivals, and the Dionysian rites that deferred to the "Goddess Etna" for annual favors, the protection of their crops, and to ensure the survival their families.
In Contrada Blandano grapes were trodden underfoot by men and women and children. The harvest was filled with song, simple food, and wine. It was easy to become intoxicated by the intense fragrance of the grapes as they began to ferment. Each new wine was consumed by peasants, merchants, wayfarers, and nobility.
During a visit to Sicily in 1770, the painter Jean Houel was inspired by the colors of the volcano. In 1786, the writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote about the local wines on his trip to Sicily. Like so many others, Goethe was more impressed by the magnificence of the volcano and the products grown on Etna’s lush slopes than the stories of destructive eruptions. Goethe’s assessment was astute. The wine was strong and impulsive, clumsy but sincere, as the temper of the Sicilians.
The following decades and generations would begin taking stock of the how wines were aging in casks, learning as they went to enhance the aromas and flavors, and reduce the amount of defects, but without using industrial additives, modern equipment, or laboratories. Dino Costantino began making wine in this tradition in the late 1970’s. Today, with his son Fabio, the father and son have fully realized the potential of their vineyards and grapes, in the line of DeAetna wines.
The name DeAetna is inspired by a booklet of the same name, by the Ventian writer Pietro Bembo. In the text, published in 1550, Bembo addresses the sacredness of Wine on the volcano. Written as a dialogue, DeAetna tells the story of his ascent to the top of Etna. Bembo’s descriptive study of the volcano, its environs, and community ascribes a classic mysticism to the mountain. More importantly, he gives us proof that our volcanic wines have participated in intellectual gatherings around the table for centuries. While returning home from his trip to Sicily in 1496, Bembo began to write about the volcano and its physical form, “A philosophy …” he began. “First the wine.”
This vibrant rosé wine is a captivating interpretation of the lighter, fruitier side of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Our rosato is a nod to the tradition of the local pistamutta, a wine made from a short amount of skin contact. Our black grapes are destemmed and marinated in a bath of their juice. After gentle pressing and a cold static clarification, the lightly pigmented juice is fermented at a cool temperatures and bottled young. This is the perfect wine for appetizers or an entire meal, because it resembles a white wine that has the potential of a red wine.
This is the perfect blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Where Nerello Mascalese adds gentle fruit and moderate structure, the Nerello Cappuccio contributes color, body, and deep fruit flavors making this an aromatic and harmonious full-bodied red wine for daily consumption and special occasions. After fermentation on the skins, the wine is aged in stainless steel and French oak tonneaux. This delicious and agile red wine pairs well with appetizers, pasta dishes, baked entrees, meats, and also dessert.
Our classic Etna Bianco is a traditional blend of Carricante and Catarratto. A small percentage of the indigenous white grape variety Minella Bianca is also added. The traditional Etna blend is an inviting, delicately fragranced, medium-bodied white wine with a yellow hue featuring supple aromas and flavors of fresh citrus and savory herbs. The DeAetna Bianco pairs perfectly with fish or fowl, risotto, and a range of international cuisine.
Made from a selection of our best vines, this ripe, textured, and lush full-bodied Etna Rosso is a reflection of the inspiration, passion and patience for which Contrada Blandano is known. Every vintage differs from the others. By paying close attention to each vine we are able to identify the best expressions of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio as the growing season develops. This elegant blend of Etna’s two classic black grapes focuses on the potential for flavor and longevity. By slowly aging the wines in concrete, French oak tonneau and large barrels, we are able to capture the nuances of the fruit and the growing season. This deeply colored ruby-red traditional Etna Rosso goes one step further to show the potential for our volcanic wines to pair with the finest cuisine and your favorite comfort foods.Download
Contrada Blandano is renowned for its white wines. By following a rigorous vineyard selection of Carricante and Catarratto and gentle winemaking practices we are able to present you with a white wine that reflects the fullest potential of the soil and sun in Contrada Blandano. The grapes are selected during maturation and hand-harvested at the end of September. After pressing, fermentation begins in a large barrel, where wine stays till next spring on fine lees. The resulting wine is gold in color and richly aromatic with lush flavors of seasalt, citrus and savory herbs; a wine for any occasion and those special moments in our lives. Pairings include starters and salads, fish and fowl, pasta with white sauces, casseroles and roasts..Download
MEET THE CELLAR
Overview of the vineyard, the native varieties and explanation of organic farming techniques; walk to the old millstone, with nods of history of traditional winemaking; visit to the cellar. Explanation of stratigraphy of Mount Etna through sections of the land. Tasting of 3 wines with bread baked in a wood oven and EVO organic olive oil.
Estimated time h: 1:00-1:30
LUNCH IN THE CELLAR
Overview of the vineyard, the native varieties and explanation of organic farming techniques; walk to the old millstone, with nods of history of traditional winemaking and folk culture; visit to the cave of the roots; visit to the cellar with explanation of modern winemaking techniques, bottling and aging barrel area. Explanation of stratigraphy of Mount Etna through sections of the land. Tasting of 4 wines with several kind of bread, from ancient organic grains, baked in a wood oven e EVO organic olive oil, selection of local organic cheeses and meats. Estimated time h: 2:00-2:30