Canicatti speaks of Sicily and a hot arid climate. It also brings one to think of the Valle dei Templi. It would not necessarily be the first place where I would think a quality wine would come from. I would be wrong however as two wines that I tasted during Italian wine week showed me. I met two lovely gentlemen from this large cooperative, CVA Canicatti, which has 480 growers, 60 vineyards and 1000 hectares of vines. I was very pleasantly surprised at the elegance and depth I found in the Centuno, made from Nero d’Avola. Often I find wines made with this grape overwhelm my palate and attack me with both fruit and alcohol. This one did not. The cooperative was created in 1969. They use cement tanks as well as other aging vessels and have adopted refrigeration techniques that help them preserve the fruit in their torrid climate. The name Centuno is a reference to a literary work by an Italian author. I thought it was Pirandello but now I can’t find the correct reference.
I was surprised at the restrained nature of these wines compared with many I have tasted from Sicily. Additionally I have visited the Valle dei Templi and I remember how hot it was, over 40 degrees Celsius in the shade or 104 Farentheit when I was there many years ago, before climate change wreaked the kind of havoc we are seeing now. It was a beautiful part of Sicily but I remember feeling as though I might melt into the car. It is, however, one of the great archaeological sites in the world and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Luckily now after a long visit, you can sip wines from this interesting cooperative cellar. Apparently they also have retail sales points in the area. It’s good to revisit one’s assumptions about terroir.