Located within an ancient Baglio nestled somewhere between the Preola Lake Nature Reserve in Western Sicily and the Mediterranean Sea, Gorghi tondi is an exemplary winery that exudes colorful character in natural surrounds. Reflecting this in the wines produced here by Annamaria and Clara Sala, the mesmerizing beauty of the WWF preserve, the devotion to natural preservation and the deep devotion put forth by the sisters to craft exquisite sustainable wines while conserving the area.
Great steps are taken to achieve the kind of perfection that one uncorks from a bottle of Gorghi Tondi wine. With time-honored traditions and innovative processes melded together, this winery captures the unique characteristics of the organically-grown varietals used.
The Grillo varietal is the signature varietal for this family-run vineyard, something that is deeply steeped in the area’s history. Grillo is considered one of Sicily’s highest quality varieties. It is a natural crossing of Catarratto Bianco Lucido & Moscato di Alessandria, two native varietals of Sicily. Modern winemaking has made a big impact on Grillo’s expression. Contemporary examples are cleaner and fresher than the earthier fatter offerings of the past. As Grillo’s aromatic molecules oxidize easily, reductive winemaking is becoming more popular. The resulting wines are lemony and herbal with crisp acidity. Besides making dry, still whites, Grillo is one of the grapes used in the fortified wines of Marsala.
Grillo is used in the Palmarès Spumante brut sparkling wine as well as the Grillodoro muffato, and still wines like the Vivitis BIO sustainable wine. None contain added sulfites and simply serve to showcase the organically-grown version of the Grillo grape. It’s an incredibly versatile vine, one with a rich history on the land here.
Annamaria explained that they chose to focus on Grillo from the beginning. It’s a natural fit for Western Sicily. Additionally, the location on the reserve could have been seen as an impediment to her and sister Clara, however they saw it as a positive. It adds a great deal of value to the wines produced by Gorghi Tondi because organic farming practices must be used to cultivate this varietal on this special swatch of land. A shining example of women who want to change the world, Annamaria and Clara are doing it one bottle at a time.
It’s more than just a love of nature and wanting to help preserve the dazzling surrounds though. Amidst the flowering orchids and in witness of hawks, turtles, and other wildlife, Gorghi Tondi also revels in the name of family tradition. Grillo has been cultivated on the lands here for four solid generations, aptly helmed by women. They credit their great-grandmother Dora with the values for preservation of this area that they uphold today.
In short, what makes the Grillo an internationally award-winning varietal is that it is entrenched in a tapestry of rich family history woven with passion from generation to generation. Great detail goes into the production of Gorghi Tondi wines with exemplary care taken to cultivate the vines to grow at their best.
To truly appreciate the vineyard, stop by when you’re in Sicily. The wine cellar is climate-controlled and features 800 hectoliters of French oak barrels. Considered the heart of the winery, the mesmerizing fragrance of the wines held within here along with the charming wooden ambiance is purely mystical. At the Baglio, the stylish surrounds welcome for wine tastings aptly paired with vibrantly traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Everything here is carefully crafted, leaving no detail to chance for a sublime tasting experience.
Add to that the dazzling natural scenery and spending a day at Gorghi Tondi among the nature reserve and the crashing waves of the Mediterranean is absolute paradise for any wine aficionado. The chance to sip with the sea breeze caressing your skin is something you won’t soon forget. Though if you cannot come to Sicily, tasting the fruits of Gorghi Tondi’s labors will have to do.
Gorghi Tondi proves that hard work indeed pays off, as well as using the land with love and respect to cultivate harmony. Being at one with nature is something Annamaria and Clara uphold from the vineyards to the bottling room, one that has indeed blessed them with a bounty of success.
It’s not just the Grillo though. It’s the quality of the land. Harnessing the powers of it without depleting it takes the careful consideration of a woman’s touch, one that pays attention to the fertile soil. With these things in mind, it’s little wonder why Grillo has grown here for a prestigious vine that yields an even more prestigious wine.
There are quite a few offerings from Gorghi Tondi that range from sparkling to still. Babbìo, Cru, Spumanti, Territoriali, Vivitis Bio, and Monovarietali each have delightfully-named offerings, some with a bit of their own nod to history captured in every bottle. The Sala sisters hope that with their captivating wines, they can captivate the world with better winemaking practices and pioneer the way for organics and an emphasis on nature to be the driving force behind premium wine production around the world.