About Tenuta di Castellaro
Located on the island of Lipari off the northern coast of Sicily, the Tenuta di Castellaro estate and winery was founded in 2008 with the goal of relaunching the winemaking traditions of these volcanic lands that had been left untended for hundreds of years. Time has preserved this unique island landscape with extreme care, and Tenuta di Castellaro safeguards vast agricultural and natural areas which surround its vines with a radical environmentally-sustainable commitment in both its viticultural and winemaking practices to enhance the beauty of their site.
Owner Massimo Lentsch fell in love with the Aeolian islands a long time ago and dreamt of making wine there. He met oenologist Salvo Foti and tasked him and the I Vigneri consortium of Etna with reintroducing ancient Sicilian traditions on his property. Restarting production was a complex task that began with an in-depth analysis of the terroirs and the massale and clonal selection of the native vines on the seven islands of the Aeolian archipelago. The recovery of abandoned soil and the careful selection of the healthiest and oldest native vines of the Aeolian Islands was a huge undertaking, but one that reflected the commitment to preserving tradition. The vineyards are exclusively cultivated using the traditional Etna alberello (“little tree”) training system, each vine individually staked at extremely high densities – a system introduced in Sicily by the Greeks over 2,000 years ago. Mechanized processes are excluded, and the system is highly suitable for the certified organic cultivation of the vine.
The estate’s vineyards are located in two particularly suitable areas on the island of Lipari covering 35 acres, as well as a 1.8-hectare vineyard on the slopes of nearby Mount Etna. The two main island vineyards sit in different districts on Lipari. In Castellaro, a contrada at 1,150 feet above sea level, the vineyards facing north-west have an incredible view of the islands of Salina, Alicudi, and Filicudi. On the other end of the island is Cappero, a panoramic vineyard looking out toward Vulcano located on steep terraces directly overhanging the sea that boasts the ideal microclimate for producing Malvasia delle Lipari DOC. On the slopes of Mt. Etna, they work in the contrada Feudo di Mezzo at 2,100 feet above sea level, a site prized for its power. All the sites are subjected to strong winds and wide temperature differences between the day and the night.
The cellar fuses tradition and innovation. While the constructions have complete respect for the land and local traditions, modern technology is used to create a carbon-neutral facility that is minimally invasive to the landscape. The bioenergy cellar, completely underground and vernacular in style, is a tribute to technology that serves nature: powered by a wind tower, it exploits the presence of prevailing winds to cool the rooms in a natural way. The vinification process is very non-interventionist; the entire process takes place via gravity without the use of pumps in the various racking phases with the aim of modifying the juice as little as possible.
Castellaro’s wines focus on organically-grown varieties native to the islands, particularly Corinto Nero and Malvasia delle Lipari. The white wines – Bianco di Pomice (Malvasia delle Lipari 60%, Carricante 40%) and Bianco Porticello (Carricante 60%, Moscato Bianco 40%) – exhibit extraordinary balance and freshness, while the reds – Nero Ossidiana (Corinto Nero 70%, Nero d’Avola 30%), Corinto (100% Corinto Nero), and L’Ottava Isola (Nerello Mascalese 80%, Nerello Cappuccio 20%) – demonstrate the power of lavic soils. These high-quality wines are unique, providing sensory experiences that tell the story of where they come from: a place of sun, stone, wine, land, and sea.