The slopes of Mount Etna are well known for their vineyards and winery. The composition of the soil and terrain makes them ideal for grape growing, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to stop at a local winery to see the process in person. Rated very highly, we stopped at the Gambino winery outside of Taormina.
This was easily the most scenic winery tour I have ever been on. They have a brand new building on the slopes of Mount Etna, perfectly perched to see Taormina, Linguaglossa and a few smaller towns nearby. You can see the ocean, vineyards and mainland Italy all from their main winery building. Inside, the floor to ceiling windows and lovely main room make it feel airy and open.
Sadly, we arrived too late for a tour of the facilities, but thankfully, the gracious and friendly staff still let us sit down for a tasting. This tasting was full service and one of the best I have been too. We started out with a Sicilian staple, a light and sweet summery Moscato. They also brought us a beautiful cheese and meat plate, as well as a traditional Sicilian vegetable plate. We had a goat’s milk reggiano, sheep’s milk pistachio cheese, a mushroom ricotta, and a simple cow’s milk provolone. For meats, we had a pork salami, prosciutto and speck. On the vegetable plate, there were pickled porcini mushrooms, sundried tomatoes soaked in local olive oil, and green & kalamata olives. Quite the bevy of choices to pair with our different wines. The Moscato was a hit with all four of us, and they even let us finish off the bottle!
Next on the tasting menu, was a seasonal red, similar to a pinot noir. This was my favorite of the wines, because it was a beautiful combination of sweet and dry, not common of reds. It had a notes of currant that were lovely. Next, was a heavy and dry merlot style wine. Hints of blackberry at first are followed by a dry, tart finish. Not my style, but I know my dad would like this wine. It would pair nicely with a cigar. To finish it off, a sweet but bodacious red cabernet which is their most popular wine. Although none of us are wine connoisseur’s, we had a ton of fun sampling the various types of wine and enjoy the good company and beautiful scenery.