In a trip to the Aeolian islands around the second half of 18th century Alexander Dumas’ father, a French man of refined taste wrote: “… a bottle of Malvasia delle Lipari was brought, it was the most excellent wine I had ever tasted in my life …” the Malvasia is undoubtedly one of the most typical of the products made in the Aeolian islands, specifically on the island of Salina.
From a distance Salina looks entirely green with two rounded high mountains and a smooth coastline. More than 400 different types of plants grow here, including the cultivation of grapes, olives and capers. The mountainsides of the island are covered with ferns, poplars, chestnut trees and typical Mediterranean vegetation covered with caper bushes, prickly per cactus and a variety of orchards, olive groves and vineyards. It’s in this vineyards where the Malvasia wine is produced, a wine of such high quality and excellence to be named the “nectar of the gods, appreciated and exported all over the world. You can not visit Salina and leave without having first tasted the Malvasia, a DOP Sicilian wine made from Malvasia delle Lipari grape (95%) and Black Corinth (5%). Malvasia is golden in colour and has an intense, delicately sweet bouquet which matches perfectly with cheese, fois gras, ice-creams and desserts. There are two types of Malvasia delle Lipari DOC: passito and natural. It is a volcanic wine, thick, sugary, golden… » as the French novelist Guy de Maupassant wrote in «A Wandering Life».
We will visit two two excellent wineries, different in size and history, both of great quality.
Our first winey is named after his founder Carlo Hauner, originally a painter and designer from Brescia, he moved to the island with a passion for winemaking. He arrived in Saline back in 1963 and decided to move to the island in the ‘70s attracted by the cultivation of Malvasia a grape which local farmers harvest the second half of September and sun-dry for two weeks or so on mats making the famous Passito delle Lipari. According to the traditional method the grapes are exposed out on the trellies and taken in at the sunset. Hauner learned the local winemaking techniques and integrated them with modern standards. He put together twenty hectares of plots of lands, restoring the ancient terraces and vineyards and introduced innovations such as withering the grapes on the vine and cooling techniques during fermentation. The new winery was built during the ‘80s in the typical Aeolian style and its inauguration coincided with a rising interest towards the Malvasia among critics, journalists and media, world-wide wine enthusiasts. Today the winery is led by Carlo’s son Carlo junior with a production of about 50.000 bottles of Malvasia in its two versions naturale and passito. Labels on his wine and caper packaging are illustrated by Carlo Hauner’s paintings, inspired by the Eolian colours and architecture.
Then, we will visit the vineyards and listen to the history of a famous Sicilian noble family who made the history of wine in Sicily. Thirty years ago they bought 15 acres at Capofaro to plant Malvasia and produce the famous nectar of the gods in its sweet version as well as in its dry version.
Lunch will be a journey through the Made in Sicily products including home cooked dishes using traditional recipes from stories inherited with the goal to tell the story of the territory and of the soul of the family.