Ampelon was founded in 2009 from Barbara e Valter Grarotti on the northern slope of the volcano Etna (Italy—Sicily), after discovering old abandoned vineyards of the indigenous grape netello mascalese in some of the best vine spots of the area. After a long and struggling work of recovery of these old vineyards (located among the 700 and 800 meters above the sea level), today Ampelon runs the 8 hectars totally owned with the only aim to produce handcraft top quality wines, able of long ageing and to reflect the soil and the vintage. Barbara e Valter, partners in life as at work, they live among their beloved vineyards running every operations in the field as in the cellar, step by step they've got the eyes on them of Lilly and Tullio, the two beautiful and inseparable german sheperd dogs of the house.
In the vineyards.
The choice of believing in ancient vineyards with a massive population of very old vines (even hundred year old) makes the vineyards conduct very complicated, requiring manual work and light and iterate operations. Working hard on the soil and on the vegetation, with a very short time of reaction against any possible threat in terms of vineyard disease, allow to Ampelon a very environmental friendly vineyards management avoiding the use of any dangerous chemicals. Of course this way of work is very expensive, but it worth thanks to the perfect balance that only old vines grapes are able to give. With small production per hectare, the old vines are able to gain perfect ripening with great potential in terms of flavors, structure and elegance.
In the cellar.
Due to the great effort in the vineyards that this way is able to give great quality also in the struggling vintages, Ampelon thinks that the only thing to do in the cellar is to totally respect the grape. So just the best juice after grape crashing and no addiction of any kind to the must or in the wine. The cleanest and the precision of the stainless steel and the perfect ageing capacity 36 month aged wood for the rest. Fermentation and ageing are made in stainless steel or wooden barrel and time represent the biggest investment of the winery in winemaking: after long maceration on the skin (about 20 days at max 26C°) wines are free to age since 12 to 24 months and only the tasting rules on tinting to the bottle. The wine is going to the market only when is ready and not event before a long rest in the bottle. At least 12 months in barriques after the stainless steel alcoholic fermentation for the two red wines Passo alle Sciare DOC (90% nerello mascalese — 10% nerello cappuccio) and Sciaracauda Nerello Mascalese Sicilia IGT and again a long rest in stainless steel before bottling. The single vineyards Le Caldere instead, immediately goes to barrique to complete the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation before ageing for at least 24 month in the same barrel. Only stainless steel an controlled ageing temperatures for the Etna Bianco DOC (90% carricante — 10% catarratto).