Sicily is a real walhalla for the wine lover. While planning my trip I almost went crazy, so many choices! Which winery will I visit and which ones will I skip? Is it worthwhile to drive four and a half hours to visit a winery? One thing was for sure. I had to go visit Gulfi! Read all about this winery here.
When I turned thirty, a dear friend gave me a beautiful bottle of the Baronj of Gulfi. It’s still in my wine fridge waiting for a special occasion. Since then I have always wanted to visit Gulfi and in July 2020 the moment was finally there.
Gulfi and her history
Vito Catania came back from the North of Italy in the late 1990s with the dream of starting a successful wine business on the ground where his ancestors made wine three generations ago. Full of innovative and idealistic ideas he started Gulfi, in Chiaramonte Gulfi a small town on the Monte Iblei near Ragusa (southern Sicily).
Vito Catania’s philosophy was to preserve the tradition, the area has been producing wine for over two thousand years, working with respect for nature (Gulfi works completely organic) and doing everything by hand, preserving the Alberello (bush vines) and working with indigenous grape varieties. He alternated this preservation of tradition with a highly innovative approach. Gulfi uses the latest techniques, the vines are closely monitored and new projects are often started over the years. Gulfi is now also present on Mount Etna.
Today, Gulfi is governed by the three sons of Vito, each of whom is involved in a different field within the winery. Annually 190,000 bottles are produced.
The star of Gulfi is the Nero d’Avola, king of southern Sicily and very suitable for the extremely warm climate. In Chiaramonte Gulfi, where the Locanda is located Nero d’Avola grows together with Chardonnay, Carricante, Albanello and Frappato. The soil consists of clay, limestone and fossils. The altitude of the vineyards is between 400 and 500 meters. Here the VALCANZJRIA, CARJCANTI, ROSSJBLEO, NEROJBLEO, CERASUOLO DI VITTORIA and CERASUOLO DI VITTORIA CLASSICO are made.
The J in the names of the wines refers to the Greek heritage, it is forbidden by law to mention the names of the “cru’s” on the bottle, hence the i’s have been replaced by j’s. The Greek roots are very visible in this part of Sicily, also the image on the bottles of Gulfi refers to a mosaic with a Greek scene.
More towards the Val di Noto, in Pachino, near the town of Noto on the coast, the four “Grand cru’s” of Nero d’Avola are made. This is a place where two tectonic plates meet, the African and the European. As a result, the soil consists of different compositions, namely volcanic, limestone, black clay and red iron-rich Mediterranean subsoil. Each “Grand cru” has a different soil composition and therefore all four wines are very different. The four Pachino wines are NeroBaronj, NeroBufaleffj, NeroMaccarj and NeroSanlorè.
On the Etna Gulfi makes an Etna Rosso called Reseca, the vineyards are located in Randazzo at 850 meters altitude. Nerello Mascalese grows here on volcanic soil. As a bit of an oddity, Gulfi also makes a Pinot Noir on Mount Etna. It is called Pinò and is the only bottle with a different label.
Read all about the wines here.
What makes Gulfi extra special is her beautiful Locanda. It is not just a winery with vineyards where you can go for a tasting. It is a true paradise for the lover of wine, food and luxury. On the spot where the wines are made, a beautiful hotel has been built with a spectacular swimming pool with a breathtaking view.
The Locanda consists of a gourmet restaurant where the 20 year young chef only works with local products. Think of olive oil from the Tonda Iblea, the indigenous olive variety that grows in the hills of Iblea, Ragusa. There is an à la carte menu or a multi-course menu from the chef.
We tasted among others the contemporary version of the Parmigiana di Melanzane, the Spaghettoni with lemon and red prawn from Mazare del Vallo, the pork steak with cream of coffee and granita of lemon and the homemade Cannolo Siciliano. #foodporn
We stayed overnight so we could roll to our room after dinner, the rooms are stylishly decorated and fully equipped. Highlight of our stay at Gulfi was definitely the beautiful swimming pool.
Book your stay with Gulfi here.