Gaja’s New Joint Venture in Sicily Bedding in Nicely With An Impressive Second Etna Rosso 2018 Release…

IDDA is an exciting joint venture winery project between Angelo Gaja of Piedmontese fame and Alberto Graci that may have passed some people by unnoticed when its first red was released post lockdown 1.0 in July 2020. Together they own 20+ hectares of vineyards in the villages of Belpasso and Biancavilla which are currently planted with Nerello Mascalese and Carricante located at 700 to 800 metres above sea level on the south-western slopes of Etna where only three other wineries are located.

The 2017 was the first vintage of the IDDA Etna Rosso red and a pretty smart effort it was as well. However, 2017 was from a much warmer, riper vintage and while the finished product in the bottle was very high quality, the cooler, fresher, more ethereal expression of 2018 is for me, far more typical of the lighter, more elegant styles of wine associated with Etna and more specifically, the Nerello Mascalese grape.

Gaja Idda 2018 Etna Rosso, 14.5% Abv.

Fermentation and maceration for the 2018 Rosso lasted for around three weeks, partially in oak and partially in concrete vats. The wine then spent a further 24 months ageing in oak and concrete. The 2018 is fabulously bright, lifted and perfumed with a pale translucent cherry red colour. There are pretty aromatics of dried rose petals, violets, potpourri, musk and earthy red bramble berry fruits supported by a complementary leafy sapidity and dusty, peppery, five spice nuances. On the palate an impressive clarity and purity of fruit is notable with cool juicy red berries, red cherry, bitter almonds, grilled herbs and slightly drying, chewy, grippy volcanic basaltic mineral tannins on the finish. Already beautifully harmonious and elegant, this wine certainly doesn’t lack any focus and structure in its youth and is undoubtedly a vintage perfectly suited to Etna and Nerello Mascalese where the purity and finesse of the fruit finds a wonderful symmetry with the freshness and minerality. This has class written all over it. Drink from release and over 8 to 12+ years.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

2 thoughts on “Gaja’s New Joint Venture in Sicily Bedding in Nicely With An Impressive Second Etna Rosso 2018 Release…

  1. Call me old-fashioned, but I wish large companies like Gaja (or, even worse, Planeta) stoped invading every new exciting region there is. Gaja started in Barberesco and moved to Barolo, which makes sense. But moved to Tuscany and now —please!— to Etna. This is capitalism running riot and it benefits no one, including Gaja who is spreading himself thinner every day. But the main victims are consumers who are subjected to ever-increasing prices when this behemoths take over. And quality usually gets diluted too. What next? Merlot in Etna? It wouldn’t surprise me, sadly.

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    1. I hear your points but I should point out this is a joint-venture and not invasive “wine colonialism”. Angelo Gaja has long held a passion and interest for the wines of Etna. The Gaja family are recognised internationally as true trail blazers and I certainly think they are an asset to the global world of fine wine. I fear your somewhat romantic vision of localism has long since disappeared… and one could make an argument for the better… when it comes to wine quality, marketing and distribution.

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