Reflections of the Gambino Winery in Sicily
From our 2011 cruise we brought back so many memories. Most of them are about people. People like the Gambino family who hosted us at their winery on Mount Etna. This was especially sweet because a member of their family was a marine with Paul M. at Camp Lejeune, NC. The winery sits on Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest and most active live volcano. When we arrived the owners greeted us, escorted us to a tasting room overlooking rows of terraced vines. Long tables filled with breads, olives, cheeses and wine glasses made for merry hearts. The wines and fellowship were wonderful.
Malvasia, Catarratto, and Minella white grape varieties grow on Etna. Some of these grapevines are 100 years old. Because of the volcanic soil they exhibit a minerality and richness not found in the same grapes elsewhere. The red wines are made from a minimum of 80% Nerello Macalesse, an ancient vine cultivated in Etna for 400 years. It is a black, spicy grape.
Mount Etna is 10,924 feet high and has been claimed to be the site of Vulcan’s forge. Vulcan the ancient god of fire supposedly married Venus. Every time Etna erupts Vulcan is forging something new. Can you imagine living on a live volcano and never knowing if you will awake to rivers of lava flowing through your house?