Today our adventure started by driving up the side of Etna to the “Crateri Silvestri”, two craters on the side of Etna which are now dormant. The drive up the mountain was surreal, it seemed like we were on the moon with black hardened lava to the left and right of the road. At the top, some 1900m above sea level, we hiked around the craters being careful not to be blown away! The winds came with powerful gusts that felt as if they could lift you right off your feet! Thanks to the altitude and winds it was rather fresh up there but nothing could beat the view!
Our next priority was to sample wines produced of grapes grown in the fertile soils surrounding Etna. Our destination – Planeta. We visited their Feudo di Mezzo property with Etna in plain sight. After a tour of this beautiful property with its stone buildings we were invited indoors to start our tasting. Three whites were opened for us: Eruzione 1614 Carricante DOC – a blend of Carricante and Riesling, an elegant white with a nice long finish. This was followed by Eruzione 1614 Riesling – this has typical petrol notes on the nose and a palate much like an Alsatian Riesling. Next was Alastro – a wine made of Grecanico grapes, one of the most ancient grapes on the island and Sauvignon Blanc.
Now we were hungry! We moved a few steps over into another stone building where the kitchen is as well as a harvest table set and ready for us. We enjoyed a lovely lunch of typical foods of the area as well as some more of Planeta’s products including: La Segreta Bianco – a blend of Grecanico, Viognier, Chardonnay and Fiano, Eruzione 1614 Rosso DOC – 100% Nerello Mascalese and finally Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico Dorilli DOCG. This one is a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato grapes. It is a big wine with dark cherry notes, spices and leather and would easily cellar for up to 10 yrs. Vintages brings in Planeta products from time to time and currently the SAQ has an excellent selection. After enjoying our home-cooked meal, we got ourselves up from the table and back on the bus to continue our adventure.