The Girolamo Russo estate was founded in 2005 by Giuseppe Russo, in memory of his late father. The family are native of Passopisciaro, one of the key villages at the heart of the rebirth of Etna’s most important grape variety, Nerello Mascalese.
This is the north face of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna, in the north-eastern corner of Sicily. The Russos have 26 hectares of land in and around Passopisciaro, with 15 hectares of vineyards surrounded by olive and hazelnut groves. The vineyards are high up, between 650 and 780 metres above sea level, inland from the beautiful town of Taormina. Many of the free-standing bush vines are over 80 years old, surviving in harmony with Etna’s black, mineral-rich volcanic soil.
Giuseppe works the vineyards organically and makes the wines himself. He vinifies each parcel separately, seeking out their individual identities in a series of wines that reflect the diverse character of their terroirs.
Carricante is one of Italy’s most promising grapes, and I’m so happy to see it in the hands of one of my all-time favorite producers. The other white wine made by Girolamo Russo is a blend of white grapes, and the 2019 Etna Bianco San Lorenzo perfectly complements this portfolio with a more structured, age-worthy and oak-aged alternative. This old-vine expression offers white peach, citrus and melon, but the standout aromas here are those distinctive Etna overtones of ash, smoke and mineral. This is a sharp and beautifully etched white wine.