The Carricante grape has become synonymous with the dry, pungent and incredibly energetic white wines of the fashionable eastern Sicilian region, Etna. While Sicily is largely semi-arid and hot, Etna's volcanic soils and altitude infuse Carricante with a ferocious mineral presence, aromas of pungent lemon oil, and a tensile structure; all of which belie the grape variety's southern Mediterranean origins.
Indigenous to Etna, Carricante is a late ripening grape variety and grows primarily in areas of higher elevation to the east and south of this still-living volcano. It thrives from around 950 meters. Carricante boasts febrile acidity (particularly high malic levels) and a phenolic carapace, suggesting that the best wines from producers the likes of Benanti and Cottanera will age very well indeed.
This being said, the rapid rise in Etna's fashionability has given us few aged Carricate wines of grace and complexity at this stage. No doubt, new qualitative parameters for the region's wines will be established over time. Sadly, concomitant will be a rise in prices for Caricante's most compelling wines.