il cantante
il cantante
flowering - mid-May
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Centuries-old vineyard with many vines going back anything from 130 to 150 years. Grown by the alberello system with a support made of wood from the chestnut tree found on Etna. It is situated on the north-east slope of the volcano, 700 metres above sea-level, in the district of Feudo di Mezzo which is part of the Municipality of Castiglione di Sicilia. The vines are set out 1x1 which equates to a density of around 10,000 plants per hectare and is arranged in accordance with the age-old system which goes by its Latin name of quinconce, in other words, in units of 5. The vineyard stretches across 1.3 hectares and the vines grown are mainly the indigenous Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio as well as other lesser varieties. The vineyard is made up of various terraces, some small and steep, and all protected by dry lavic stone walls, which also act as water drainage ducts. The soil is grassy and aromatic plants grow naturally on it, the most common of which are calamint (calamintha nepèta) and wild fennel, the latter being miserable in stagnant water, but very happy in light, loosely-packed terrain which, although arid, is rich in nutritive substances. The red grapes from the Cosentino vineyard are used to produce Etna Rosso Il Cantante, which was harvested in 2001
physiology of Etnean alberello

Each vine is an individual and all the vines in a vineyard form a community and virtually turn into a whole population. Just as the relationship between the members of a community influences the behaviour of each individual, similarly the condition and behaviour of each individual vine affect its yield given that the plant is governed by the interplay between the various vines within the vineyard. These reciprocal relationships between the vines depend on the position occupied (available space for each of them) by each single plant which in the case of the alberello system laid out in quincunciall implantation is perfectly balanced. The alberello system, precisely because of the equidistance between the vines and their height, which excludes virtually any shadow being cast between the plants, makes it possible to achieve maximum exposure to the sun’s rays, both direct and indirect, coming from the refraction of the land. An ideal vineyard must be structured in terms of its yield so that, with only a minimum of additives, it can really build up and use all the resources provided by the local soil. This is the same as having a vineyard with maximum stability over time and as low a consumption of energy as possible to keep production at its proper level (minimum arrangements for operating the system). A vineyard based on the alberello system meets these quality requirements perfectly and makes for healthier roots, the growth of new shoots, better production levels and the characteristics of the end product (Text by Salvo Foti).
Quincunciall implantation

This was the preferred type of planting arrangement used by agronomists as far back as Roman times because it was considered to be the best means of distributing the plants in such a way that they could be planted out at equal distances and in regular rows (also reckoned to be an attractive addition to the landscape). They would be offset against each other so as to form a rhombic grid, rather like the shape of the number 5 on the side of a dice. This sort of shaping into fives was a harmonious system which simultaneously satisfied the need for order (the plants can easily be counted), the economical use of space (the vines are fairly close together so that the land available can be put to the best possible us, but, at the same time, they are not so close together that they actually cause damage to each other) and the aesthetic issue of making it pleasing to the eye. The planting out of a vineyard using the alberello system on a surface which is complex and uneven like that on Etna makes up a sort of grid which gives us an immediate and pleasant view of the landscape, since the vineyard ends up being symmetrical, irrespective of the irregularity of the terraces (Text by Salvo Fot
quincunciall implantation