De Bartoli: seconda generazione all’altezza
Sicily is far from Rome and I am always glad to visit this contradictory and fascinating land. The latest occasion to do so was offered to me by Fabrizio Carrera, the director of Cronache di Gusto with whom we have a lovely joint venture. We started out at Etna and after wandering about the island ended up at a very great producer in Marsala.
I was both happy and curious to speak with this winery’s second generation that took over after the passing of its founder Marco De Bartoli, who I met in Rome in 1990. After a stroll through the vineyards and a visit to the cellar I was won over by Renato and Giuseppina, sibling Sebastiano was not around, who now run the De Bartoli estate. They are uniquely dedicated to their estate with a maniacal care of the vines and a desire to evolve technologically while still respecting Marsala traditions, both before and after the English style. They are a bit ahead of the others with a tradition method wine and one that is macerated with intelligence, because when you’re good you’re always good. Their ‘swimming pool’ without water was quite interesting and allows you to understand what the substrata soil is like under the winery. It was dug in order to expand the cellar but for now just showcases the magnificent layers of earth with an unimaginable number of fossils.
They pay great attention to what is going on around them and are quite critical of some local cooperatives, there are more than five in the area, which do not bottle their wines because they prefer to sell them to other cooperatives in northern Italy. One wonder how these farmers can ever fully appreciate what they have when they continue such destructive practices.