The wines of Alberto Graci, Etna, Sicily

Alberto Graci’s grandfather used to make wine in Sicily, from vineyards in the centre of the island. As with many at the time, the approach was to produce quantity, not quality. Graci, however, studied in Rome and then went on to work as an investment banker in Milan.

His grandfather’s death changed things. ‘I came back home,’ he says, ‘and sold my grandfather’s land, and bought vineyards on Etna.’ So he’s returned to his Sicilian roots, but moved to a part of the island where there’s a real buzz at the moment. Since his return in 2004, he’s been making some very interesting wines.

Alberto Graci’s main property is in Passopisciaro, in the northeast part of Etna. Callued Acurìa, it’s 25 hectares, with 18 hectares of vines, of which 15 hectares are Nerello Mascalese (Etna’s top red grape), 1.5 hectares Carricante and 1 hectare Catarratto. The altitude is between 600 and 660 metres. ‘I want to use the indigenous grape varieties to express my terroirs,’ says Graci. ‘If I want a Pinot Noir, I can get it from elsewhere.’

The jewel in his crown is a small vineyard called Barbalecchi, which is a 5 hectare plot planted with 2 hectares of pre-phylloxera Nerello on its own roots. This is at 1000 metres, is harvested in November, and requires no treatments at all – not even Bordeaux mixture.

‘Etna is a special place,’ says Graci. He cites three reasons. First, it has the sun of Sicily but a climate moderated by altitude. Second, it has volcanic soils. Third, it has old ungrafted vineyards. His vinification is in large format oak (Stockinger foudres) and concrete.


Graci Etna Bianco Carricante & Carratto 2021 Etna, Sicily
This is from 600-800 m. Lively with a hint of mint. Good acidity and a distinctive mineral twist to the slightly pithy citrus fruit, as well as a hint of marmalade. Very expressive with nice weight. 92/100

Graci Etna Rosato Nerello Mascalese 2020 Etna, Sicily
Rounded and textural, but at the same stage very fresh with keen acidity and a nice stony, mineral core. Some lime and cherry with lots of precision and brightness. Lovely stuff. 92/100

Graci Etna Rosso Nerello Mascalese 2020 Etna, Sicily
Matured in concrete after a long maceration on skins. Supple and rounded with juicy strawberry and cherry fruit. Has fine spices and some sour cherry, and is fresh and layered. Lively and mineral. 94/100

Tartaraci Rossi Mirella Buscemi 2017 Etna, Sicily
This is Alberto Graci’s wife’s estate, and it was a 9 year old vineyard when this wine was made. Warm, rounded and sweetly fruited with nice spicy structure. Has nice depth of raspberry and strawberry fruit with richness allied to structure. 94/100

Graci Etna Rosso Arcurìa Nerello Mascalese 2020 Etna, Sicily
Made in large barrels with no temperature control during fermentation, and a long maceration on skins. Pale red with lovely intensity. Mineral and structured with raspberry and cherry fruit, good acidity and some grippy tannins. Such finesse here: structured and pure, and very fine. 95/100

Graci Etna Rosso Arcurìa Sopra il Pozzo 2017 Etna, Sicily
Fresh and fine, expressive and mineral. Has great acidity under the raspberry and strawberry fruit with nice tannic structure and some woody hints. There are some notes of leather, too. Such finesse and structure: very fine. 96/100

UK agent: Bancroft Wines

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