The Sicilian winery Al Cantàra makes its debut into the world of bubbles with its elegant Re Befè, an Extra Brut Etna Bianco DOC produced using the classic method and aged for four years.
Made with Nerello Mascalese grapes which are harvested at the first light of dawn, Re Befè is the result of five years of research and experimentation. Its name comes from a popular Sicilian nursery rhyme that begins, “C’era ‘na re, Befè, visoctta e minè….” – the fable, written in Sicilian dialect, of a king who tries to find his daughter’s pet bird who has flown away. The literary connection between the wine and the fairytale is the perfect reflection of the winery’s producer Pucci Giuffrida, whose passion for literature and his own collection of poems dedicated to works by Sicilian writers and playwrights has earned him the nickname of ‘literary vigneron.’
The tale of this sparkling wine begins far away, on the slopes of a volcano, at dawn on the last days of summer when the grapes are carefully selected and hand-harvested. “To make excellent sparkling wines and champagnes, I have learned two basic requirements are needed: high total acidity and low pH,” remarks Giuffrida, “Two elements that Nerello Mascalese naturally possesses. Hence the curiosity to push the potentialities of the vine, to make it evolve in the cellar into a sparkling wine that expresses the best of these autochthonous grapes that are so versatile and generous.”
In fact, Nerello Mascalese is a grape that has demonstrated itself to be an extraordinary example fo biodiversity and adaptability; and it is, therefore, no wonder that Al-Cantàra has used it in the production of eight different products for its winery and distillery: Rosso Etna Doc (Lu veru piaciri), Rosso IGP (Muddichi di suli) and Rosso CRU, a reserve aged in chestnut wood (O Scuru O Scuru); rosé (Amuri di Fimmina); blanc de noir (A Nutturna); passito (U Disìu); grappa (Rosa Fresca Aulentissima) and now spumante extra brut Etna Doc Bianco Re Befè.
“It is a sparkling wine that is son of the volcano,” explains Manlio Giustiniani, teacher at Fondazione Italiana Sommelier and Bibenda Master Class. “To the taste, it is elegant with a creamy carbonic acidity, nice freshness, and a pleasant hint of iron with a mineral finish of flint, and good persistence. To the sight and smell, then, Re Befè has a bright yellow color, while its fresh nose is marked by spicy and mineral notes of lava stone, black ash, and incense which blend with citrus aromas of citron, kiwi, and orange zest, followed by fruity notes of green apple and a floral bouquet of broom and lemon leaves, mountain herbs and light hints of fresh almonds.”