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February 28, 2024

Etna Third Wave

The beat goes on with another volcanic generation

The most thrilling moment of my time writing about wine came 16 years ago when I began travelling regularly to Sicily — and specifically to Mount Etna.

There I discovered the beginnings of an Etna wine boom. In those heady days it seemed an alignment of stars brought together a small group of passionate pioneers to the mountain, who were looking for some kind of grail in Etna’s old but then-obscure wild and active volcanic terroirs.

Those high-altitude Nerello Mascalese–based reds, and ageworthy Carricante whites had the wine world agog — had a southern Burgundy been found?  The hype triggered stage two: a boom of investment by established winemakers from across Sicily, Italy (with the most prominent example being Angelo Gaja) and even California.

Carla Maugeri with father, Renato, and sister Paola - Robert Camuto

Carla Maugeri with father, Renato, and sister Paola.  Photo @Robert Camuto

I love Etna wines, partly because the small scale of the producers ensures a certain level of quality that seems here to stay

Now comes a third wave of younger winemakers — particularly Sicilians. They’ve studied the work of previous waves and are cultivating niches of their own.

To learn about some of the mountain’s most promising new winemakers including the Carla Maugeri (pictured above) who makes some of the mountains most daring whites, check out the latest Robert Camuto Meets… (free) at