Planeta Winery: A Journey Through Sicily



By Kori ~ October 17th, 2012.

Founded in 1995, Planeta Winery encompasses six distinct wine estates throughout Sicily. The Planeta philosophy is, “For each terroir, its own winery.” Planeta has tried to identify the area within Sicily where certain varieties grow best and then has established a boutique winery with its own surrounding vineyard in that respective area. Planeta’s boutique wineries include Ulmo at Sambuca di Sicilia, Dispensa at Menfi, Dorilli at Vittoria, Buonivini at Noto, Sciara Nuova on Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia, and the new winery, La Baronia at Capo Milazzo. Earlier this year, Planeta hired French consultants Florent Dumeau and Xavier Chone to help them further their terroir-based approach. Planeta’s total annual production is about 20,000 cases.

Winemaker Alessio Planeta, his brother Santi Planeta, and their cousin Francesca Planeta established the winery, but numerous Planeta family members are involved in the operation. Francesca’s father, Diego Planeta, is a pioneer in the Sicilian wine industry and has served as president of the highly regarded wine cooperative, Settesoli, for many years. He was instrumental in introducing international grape varieties to Sicily as well as researching indigenous varieties. In 1989, Alessio and enologist Carlo Corino began experimenting with grape varieties and working to match each variety to its ideal soil and terroir. Their work ultimately led to the site selection for the Planeta wine estates.

Recently, Dad (John) and I had the pleasure to attend a luncheon with Francesca Planeta at Seattle’s Barolo Ristorante and taste through six of Planeta’s current releases. The wines were all very good and paired wonderfully with each course. We were especially impressed with the 2010 Cometa, the 2007 Santa Cecilia, and the 2010 Passito di Noto.

If you have not yet tried any Planeta wines, I encourage you to give them a try if you see them on the shelf at a wine shop or on a restaurant wine list. And, if you find yourself in Sicily, I highly recommend a visit to one of Planeta’s six estates. I haven’t been there myself; but if the pictures are an accurate reflection, they look amazing.

2011 Planeta La Segreta Bianco Sicilia IGT (Sicily): 50% Grecanico, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, and 10% Fiano. Medium greenish straw yellow. Nice nose with bright, fresh tropical and citrus fruit aromas. More citrus fruit as well as melon come through on the palate. Light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long finish. Pairing: Served as an aperitif
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Suggested retail, $15; Available elsewhere, $9 to $17

2010 Planeta Carricante Sicilia IGT (Castiglione di Sicilia, Mount Etna, Sicily): 100% Carricante. Medium straw yellow. Aromatic with fresh apple, pear, and minerality on the nose. Green apple, pear, and a touch of pineapple come through on the palate. Light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, fresh finish. Pairing: Insalata di polipo (octopus salad)
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Suggested retail, $36; Available elsewhere, $30 to $31

2010 Planeta Cometa Fiano Sicilia IGT (Menfi, Sicily): 100% Fiano. Medium golden yellow. Nice nose with lemon and floral aromas. Very rich and mouth-filling with lemon, tropical, and floral notes on the palate. Medium-bodied and lively. Well-balanced with a long finish. Pairing: Branzino (seabass)
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Suggested retail, $43; Available elsewhere, $33 to $43

2010 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG (Vittoria, Sicily): 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato. Medium ruby red. Aromatic with spice, red fruit, and oak on the nose. Fruit-forward with cherry, strawberry, spice, and a touch of smoke on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity, smooth tannins, and a long, smooth finish. Pairing: Fettuccine al coniglio (fettuccine with rabbit)
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Suggested retail, $23; Available elsewhere, $18 to $23

2007 Planeta Santa Cecilia Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT (Noto, Sicily): 100% Nero d’Avola. Deep purple in color. Nice nose with spice, smoke, and black fruit aromas. Smoke, spice, black cherry, and herbs come through on the palate. Full-bodied with lively acidity and high, dry tannins. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish. Pairing: Arrosto misto di carne (filet mignon and lamb)
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Suggested retail, $43; Available elsewhere, $30 to $43

2010 Planeta Passito di Noto DOC (Noto, Sicily): 100% Moscato Bianco. Medium deep golden yellow. Gorgeous nose with honey and dried apricot aromas. Honey, peach, and dried apricot comes through on the palate. Full-bodied with vibrant acidity and luscious mouthfeel. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish. Pairing: Pera al moscato (poached pear)
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Suggested retail, $41 [500ml]


Filed under: Dessert Wine, Food & Wine, Italian Wine, Lesser Known Varietals, Moscato/Muscat, Nero d'Avola, Red Wine, Sicilian Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Catania Hotel | October 18th, 2012 at 4:19 am

    The wines you mentioned are really some of the best to be found here in Sicily. The wine tradition here is really great, but excellence is – as always – not that easy to find. Planeta is one of the most appreciated wineries, and I can assure you a visit to one of their estates will be an absolute delight for your eyes.. and your nose ;)

  2. Kori | October 18th, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Catania,
    So glad to hear it! I look forward to visiting one of these days. Cheers!

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