VINEYARD | A garden of very old carricante alberello plants, between dry stone walls and old stone houses in Milo, on the north-east side of Etna, at about 750 metres above sea level. The Contrada is called Rinazzo, a natural terrace with a great view of the Ionian Sea, the plants sink into a thick layer of dark ash and volcanic sands. The vineyard, about one hectare, is the result of a gradual passage of inheritance and experiences, starting with great-grandfather Santo di Maio who left for Argentina in the 19th century and then returned to Milo, hence the passion of his son Alfio (to whom he dedicated Affiu wine) in caring for these intertwined alberello vines. The viticultural heritage was taken over by cousins ??Luca Patanè and Andrea di Maio. That's when oenologist Federico Curtaz who produces Kudòs came into play, the first harvest was 2018. Kudos in Greek is an expression that indicates the values ??handed down from father to son, a tribute to the heritage of a vineyard of special value.
PERSON | Federico Curtaz is from Valle d'Aosta, a no-nonsense mountaineer perfectly at home on the slopes of Etna. He does not like public events, he utters only a few words, he's direct, he is an agronomist and oenologist. He worked with Gaja for 15 years, but he never talks about it, he worked as a consultant for several wineries from north to south. For sure, he was able to interpret the savoury complexity of Etna like few others. Until 2015 we had appreciated his work for Tenute di Fessina, only to find him on his own from the 2016 vintage. "What do I like about Kudos? I taste many Etna wines, much more than at the beginning. And I find many attempts to move away from the classic and towards orange wine operations on the one side, or wines that are too thin and acidic, on the other. This is a territorial wine, also for ph and acidity, but it has an elegance that the place lends, and that is otherwise unattainable. A trait that is always there, in the leanest year as in the fattest vintage. A wine that talks about its place."
WINE | The 2019 vintage was a complicated harvest in Milo, thanks to violent hailstorms, the grapes were harvested at the end of October. Like so many of Federico's wines, the wine starts off slow, subtle and delicate. The nose offers the first hints of hazelnut and chamomile, mountain butter and citron. Paradoxically, as the aromas warm up in the glass they become fresher and more fragrant, tones of anise and white melon emerge. On the palate it enters tiptoeing, with a whispered development, it strikes us in particular for an airy, fluctuating and very fine trend: the wine comes and goes on the aromatic level, first becomes denser and then more fluid and continuous. The development proceeds in gusts, to then show off a savoury acceleration that is vivid and profound to say the least. The finish is rich in counterpoints and references, from wet rock, Mediterranean herbs, spices. The character is gentle, here oakiness is calibrated at sartorial level. The finish is very long, pure and harmonious. An Etna symphony!