Place: Pantelleria — Sicily, Italy
Variety: 85% Catarratto, 10% Pignatello, 5% Inzolia
Tanca Nica is an incredibly exciting project on the Italian island of Pantelleria that floats between Sicily and Tunisia.
The project was founded by Sardinian native Nicoletta Pecorelli and Pantelleria native Francesco Ferreri. “Tanca” in the local Pantesco dialect means “small hilly land arranged in terraces in which vines grow” and “Nica” means “the place where the thermal waters emerge from the seabed and mix with the Mediterranean blue”—how’s that for linguistic bang-for-buck!
The island’s volcanic soils are made up of pumice (soki soki) and fragments of volcanic eruptions (lapilli) to create a fertile and mineral-rich terroir. Nicoletta and Francesco biodynamically farm 2ha of Zibibbo, Pignatello and Catarratto which produces a minuscule 333 cases per year!
To combat the island’s two main viticultural challenges—strong winds and water scarcity—they plant their vines “Alberello Pantesco”. This viticultural practice, at once practical and beautiful, was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2017. This centuries-old Phoenician method of vine cultivation sees hollows called “concas” dug out of the ground and the vines planted within to protect them from the powerful and constant wind that bombards the island, while simultaneously providing slightly easier access to the already tiny amount of water that falls on Pantelleria. Some vines are also planted against terraces as a method of wine protection and also to provide some sun exposure.
In the winery, bunches are destemmed by hand, pressed by foot and fermentation is spontaneous. They are bottled without fining or filtration and sulphur is used when considered necessary, varying by cuvee and vintage.
A truly unique and exciting project producing singular and expressive wines of time, place and circumstance.
"Firri Firri" is a traditional hoe used in the vineyards and also the nickname of the old vignaiolo (winemaker) who previously owned the land. 50-year-old Alberello Pantesco vines on volcanic sand on a cool northeastern exposed plot at 300masl. Harvested as whole bunches and processed together. Blended with 10% 'riserva perpetua' before bottling. Poulsard-esque complexion. Lifted aromatics of pomegranate, mandarin and liquorice. Juicy with refreshing tannins and a long salty finish. 15ppm sulphur.