From Sicily’s extreme south-eastern tip, stretching up to the wild volcanic slopes of Etna, Gulfi’s vineyards can be found in some of islands most interesting and expressive viticultural areas. Raffaele Catania started making Gulfi wines in the 70’s, at this stage just Nerojbleo grown on the Ibleo mountains. In 1995 Raffaele’s son Vito took over, with a vision to expand their offerings and make the best Nero d’Avola wines available. Three generations of knowledge, experience and winemaking traditions have now been passed down through the Catania family. Their philosophy, to nurture and develop native Sicilian grapes varieties, working organically with very old vines and a minimal intervention approach to winemaking. Today Gulfi is run by Vito’s two sons Matteo and Raffaele who have only further strengthened the reputation of this exemplary estate.
Gulfi’s vineyards start in Pachino in the south-east of Sicily, where they produce single vineyard (contrada) Nero d’Avola wines from the historical plots of Maccari, Bufaleffi, Baroni and San Lorenzo. Part of Gulfi’s legacy is that they were the first winery ever to release single-contrada Nero d’Avola’s from Sicily, at a time when no one believed in its potential. They also have land in Monti Iblei, in the region of Ragusa, the traditional area of Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG. And on the northern slopes of Mount Etna, where their Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio vines are 100 + years old and sit at a considerable altitude of 850 meters above sea level. Their vines are trained according to the Alberello technique (depicted in their logo), a very traditional technique that the Catania family have long been advocates for. It means small tree (much like bush vines), the vine supports itself, its self-shading, slow ripening and requires no additional irrigation. Not only is it perfect in coping with the extreme conditions here, but it too is part of what keeps their history and traditions alive.
Committed to sustainability and a minimal intervention approach, Gulfi are certified organic, taking utmost care in the vineyard to protect its natural balance. “Land is our richness, we don’t have to misuse it but rather listen to it and conserve it.” Vito Catania. Their winemaking philosophy is simple, working with minimal intervention to make terroir expressive wines which allow the true nature of these native varieties to shine. Together with consultant winemaker Salvo Foti, this iconic estate consistently release some of Sicily’s (if not Italy’s) top wines. Capable of very long ageing, these wines are really expressive, with strong typicity, and refinement.