95% Nerello Mascalese, 5% Nerello Cappuccio. Calabretta’s vineyards are located nearly a half-mile above sea level in the black volcanic soils of Etna’s north slope, between Randazzo and Castiglione di Sicilia. There, Calabretta farms roughly seven hectares of mostly 70- to 80-year-old vines—many of them ungrafted—on stepped terraces supported by stone walls. Historically, the family had sold its wine in barrel to restaurants and to private customers, many of whom traveled long distances to pick up their wine. But in 1997, third- and fourth-generation father and son Massimo and Massimiliano Calabretta decided to bottle their best wine under their own label to ensure the winemaking traditions of their family and Etna would not be lost. Slow Food’s Slow Wine guide has described Calabretta’s style as “a thousand miles away” from other Italian wines, but the gap might be better measured in time, since the estate seems stuck somewhere in the 19th century. The vineyard practices sound modern but are in fact rooted in the past. They avoid using chemical pesticides or herbicides, and they harvest by hand, starting around the second week of October. Fermentations are carried out exclusively with wild yeasts. Considering such traditional approaches, it’s not surprising that Calabretta’s wines are so reminiscent of the compelling Brunellos from Montalcino’s Soldera, Cerbaiona, and Livio Sassetti, or the many great traditional Barolos of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Their NV Cala Cala is produced from younger Nerello vines and is all about drinkability (Cala Cala means “Gulp Gulp” in the local tongue). Bright red fruits with underbrush and tilled earth put a chill on this wine and you’re in heaven.