Vinous Media 93
"Luminous pale red color; this is really very pretty to look at. Perfumed, bright and penetrating aromas and flavors of red berries, cinnamon, coriander, lavender and minerals. Finishes with a building flinty quality and a note of licorice. A lovely Frappato with a very saline touch at the back; it’s a remarkable, very fresh, example given the rather hot year.”
James Suckling 93
"This is so perfumed and enticing with rose petals, watermelon and citrus. Medium body and super fruit. Beautiful. A joy to taste.”
Wine Enthusiast 90
"This fragrant and fresh red opens with red-skinned berry, violet and Mediterranean brush aromas. The easy-drinking palate offers raspberry, red cherry and clove alongside velvety tannins and bright acidity."
From 10 – 20 year old vines planted black soils with white stones. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts happens in stainless steel. Maceration lasts about a week, and aging in steel lasts 6 months. 1995 was the first year of production. 6000 cases are produced on average per year. Certified organic from the 2018 vintage.
“When we started at VinItaly, we were just 31 producers from Sicily. Now there’s a whole pavilion of us!”—Gaetana Jacono, owner of Valle dell’Acate and one of the pioneers of the New Sicily
Valle dell’Acate is found in the south east corner of Sicily, located between the Iblei mountains and the Mediterranean sea in province of Ragusa. This corner of Sicily has always been a hotbed of vinous activity, but it was in the 1800s that Gaetano Jacono founded the cellars. At that time, a great part of the wine produced in the valley was destined for export to France to help beef up wines from the Rhone valley and beyond. And since the founding of the estate, six generations of this family of vignerons have toiled in the Dirillo valley. In 2000, shortly after Gaetana Jacono got her degree in pharmacy, she abandoned her career to join the family winery with the aim of taking it to the next level. Jacono is unquestionably a force: an outspoken advocate for her native vines, in 2013 she was elected the brand ambassador for the wines of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a role she takes very seriously. Gaetana’s success in her mission to raise the profile of the estate is a matter of fact: Valle dell’Acate is world-renowned for making high quality Sicilian wines of incredible elegance and a very special sense of place, which is no easy feat on this island. It’s telling that the estate is both one of the original pioneers of the appellation, as well as the current benchmark by which all others must be compared.
Today the estate has about 80 hectares of organically cultivated vineyards planted to mostly Frappato and Nero d’Avola, with also Grillo and Chardonnay. The vineyards are between Acate, Comiso and Vittoria in the historical “Classico” district for Cerasuolo, which was one of the first Sicilian red wines to earn DOC status in 1973. In 2005, Cerasuolo was elevated to DOCG status—Sicily’s only wine to bear this distinction! The Cerasuolo blend must be comprised of Nero d’Avola and Frappato (50% to 70% Nero d’Avola blended with 30% to 50% Frappato), and the wine must be aged for no less than 18 months before release. Valle dell’Acate’s monovarietal Frappato, Nero d’Avola and Grillo are no less compelling than the flagship Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico. And 2018 will also see the first release of the Iri da Iri, a cru of Cerasuolo which showcases the incredible aging potential of this historic blend.
Valle dell'AcateView all from Valle dell'Acate
"The Sicilian winery of Valle dell'Acate has a long and storied history amongst the top estates in Sicily, as the Jacono family can trace back their winemaking roots here to the nineteenth century. It is located in the southeastern corner of Sicily, on the elegant Bidini Manor in the hills of the Dirillo Valley. The estate comprises over one hundred hectares of land, both for grapevines as well as Sicily's famous blood oranges. Under the direction of the current head of the family winery, the elegant Gaetana Jacono, many of the vineyards have been replanted to the great traditional grapes of Sicily which are farmed organically.
The estate produces one of the finest examples of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, traditionally Sicily's greatest wine. Cerasuolo di Vittoria was the first red wine in all of Sicily to achieve DOCG status, and to this day it continues to be one of Sicily's greatest reds. Valle dell'Acate also makes a great many IGT bottlings from their well-tended vineyards, including Il Nero, Zagra, Il Frappato and Tané. All of the bottlings from Valle dell'Acate must be ranked amongst Sicily's finest. The estate's Cerasuolo di Vittoria is made of a blend of seventy percent Nero d'Avola and thirty percent Frappato, with the Nero d'Avola spending time in predominantly used barrique prior to bottling. The wine receives eight to nine more months of aging in bottle prior to release, allowing for the traditionally broad and velvety style of Cerasuolo di Vittoria to emerge prior to release. This is a full-bodied and complex wine, combining the dark spice notes of Nero d'Avola with the high-toned floral aspects of the Frappato. This harmonious blend displays supple tannins and sound acids to keep the wine fresh and bouncy on the palate. Valle dell'Acate's Il Frappato bottling is comprised, no surprisingly, of one hundred percent Frappato, and aged in stainless steel tank prior to bottling to retain this varietal's lively red-fruited, highly-aromatic and floral profile. As is typical of this grape, the wine is light to medium-bodied and delivers a lovely base of soil tones from the calcaire, sandstone and clay strata of soils that lie beneath the estate's vineyards. Their Il Moro bottling is a richer and more voluptuous style of red wine than the Il Frappato, as it is made from one hundred percent Nero d'Avola from the estate's best hillside vineyards, and is aged entirely in tank. It is characterized by more black fruity tones of blackberries, black cherries, as well as notes of new leather and a fine base of soil. Like the Cerasuolo di Vittoria bottling, it is held back for six to nine months after the mise to allow it to fully blossom before it is released.
Valle dell'Acate's lineup also includes a lovely white wine, the lovely and floral Zagra bottling. Made from 100% Grillo, it is medium-bodied, deep and intensely flavored, with plenty of citrus fruit, lovely soil tones and a potpourri of floral scents in the upper register that recall jasmine and citrus blossoms. It is a beautiful, bone-dry white that works beautifully as an aperitif, with all seafood preparations and sings with vegetable pasta dishes. The new flagship bottling from Valle dell'Acate is their red IGT bottling, known as Tané. This is the only wine in the Valle dell'Acate portfolio that is not made entirely from indigenous grapes from Sicily, as it is made up of a mélange of Nero d'Avola and Syrah. The wine is aged for one year in one hundred percent new French oak barrels, and then receives an additional year of aging in bottle prior to its release. There are only five hundred cases made of Tané in a bountiful vintage, and this wine has proven to be very popular amongst fans of both Syrah-based wines and lovers of traditional Sicilian varietals. All in all, Valle dell'Acate produces an impressive array of complex and food-friendly wines that are amongst the very greatest to be found on the island."