Azienda Agricola Cortese is Stefano Girelli’s new estate in Sicily, in the South East near Ragusa. Cortese has a rich history in winemaking, and under Stefano’s guiding hand, has been brought back to life.
Cortese farms in a traditional way, using organic farming techniques from a time where organic was not a choice, but the only option. The dry, sun drenched Sicilian climate provides perfect conditions for organic farming. No chemical fertilisers or pesticides are used. Biodiversity is encouraged.
Traditional winemaking techniques are also adopted, such as fermentation in terracotta.
Cortese brings together respect for biodiversity, exclusively organic cultivation, the meeting of traditional techniques & contemporary technology and the vibrancy and colour of Sicilian life.
La Selezione is the top tier from Cortese. Distinguished by their excellent terroir, these are wines in a class of their own, without any obvious comparisons.
The name Nerello Mascalese originates from Mascali, a small village in the foothills of Mount Etna. Nerello Mascalese is a grape variety which needs a significant difference of temperature between day and night during the final stages of ripening in order to express its character fully.
The grapes for our Nerello Mascalese are grown in vineyards are around 400 metres above sea level and vines are trained using the Guillot method. The grapes are hand-picked, then immediately vinified, beginning with de-stemming.
The must is fermented on the skins with frequent remontages during the early stages of fermentation. Once fermentation is finished, we continue the skin contact for about 15 days with one very soft remontage a day. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally once separated from the skins. The wine is kept on it very fine lees for about 6-8 months before being bottled.
Our Nerello Mascalese is bright ruby-red in colour, vibrant, with a lovely luminosity. The aroma is fine and complex, reminiscent of a variety of red fruits, with a sophisticated spicy character. On the palate, the elegance of the volcanic terroir shines through. The tannins are silky-smooth, balanced with a remarkable mineral character.