"Grillo and Cataratto grapes give this wine fresh Mediterranean scents and a savory, elegant flavor with a typical hint of bitter almonds. Piano Maltese is born at the heart of Tenuta Rapitalà, on gentle hills at 1200 feet above seal level. On the palate it is rich yet fresh with apple, pear, herb and a touch of roasted nut." ~winery notes
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Rapitalà, "Beautiful Garden of God", lies between the towns of Camporeale and Alcamo, in the northwest corner of Sicily. In 1968 French count, Hugues Bernard de la Gatinais, married Gigi Guarrasi, a descendant of a great family from Palermo. With her, he engaged in a passionate and courageous adventure: the renovation of the cellars and vineyards of the Guarrasi family's Tenuta Rapitalà, an estate that had been destroyed by the Belice Valley earthquake of 1968. Count Hugues and his wife devoted themselves to the viticultural re-organization of the vineyards and it was at this point that he introduced French varietals to Sicilian terroir, a project never before taken-on by another Sicilian winemaking estate. In 1976, the first harvest destined for bottling was made, and Tenuta Rapitalà soon became a leader of the quality revolution in Sicilian enology. Today, the work started by Hugues and Gigi, is carried on by their son, Laurent, with the same care and passion.
The 555 acre vineyard slope that is Tenuta Rapitalà is characterized by gentle, undulating hills that start at 985 feet above sea level and gently climb to 1.965 feet above sea level that alternate between clay and sand. Varying exposures, altitudes and soils create a universe of terroirs that drives the success of this estate. This vineyard is divided into 180 unique parcels, each of which is managed, harvested and vinified separately for optimal terroir expression. Recently rebuilt, the cellar now benefits from the most innovative vinification equipment and techniques: cooling equipment for the grapes and musts; steel fermenters with computerized systems for controlling temperatures, remontage (punching down of the cap) and cap management. The cellar holds French oak barriques and large French oak casks (50 hl and 30 hl).
Rapitalà strives to craft wines that exhibit the bold flavors and Mediterranean aromas intrinsic to the Sicilian terroir. These wines, like Sicily itself, are the fruit of a marriage of cultures and are marked by French elegance and finesse and Sicilian passion and soul, vintage after vintage since 1976.