Having the country of origin as Italy, Carricante is a white grape variety of Vitis Vinifera species popular worldwide for quite a while. Mainly grown in the Sicily island region of Italy, it believes to have a heritage of over 1000 years along the lowland of Mount Etna. Sicily still holds the lion's share of the Carricante grape plants cultivated across the globe. The place has over 500 acres of vineyards actively involved in farming high-quality Carricante.
High productivity is the highlight of this grape variety. The fertile volcanic soil across the length and breadth of Mount Edna contributes to the high-yielding quality of Carricante. In fact, the name Carricante itself indicates the productivity of the variety, as the Italian word “Carica” means load.
Acidity is yet another distinguishing property of Carricante grapes. They are late-ripening fruits. The Carricante vines go through a comparatively longer growing season and tend to develop a highly acidic flavor if harvested early. Early harvested Carricante grapes must go through malolactic fermentation or lees contact to counter the intense sour taste acquired.
The Carricante fruits are medium-sized and nearly oval-shaped with white insides and greenish-yellow skin. The taste of the grapes consists of mineral flavors and high acidity.
Carricante is used extensively in producing premium white wines that come under the Etna DOC. Thanks to the high acidity gained from the Volcanic scales of Mount Edna, the grapes constitute several aromatic and refreshing wines that have a wide variety of flavor profiles.
The Carricante wine features a milky yellow color with green undertones. The natural aroma of the wine has a citrusy, herby, and floral aspect to it with a subtle mineral tinge.
The savory, warm wine evokes the taste buds with its highlighted acidic flavor profile. The firm acidity and subtle salinity tend to leave a tingling sensation on the palate. The Carricante wine attains its finest levels as it ages. On aging, the wine tends to get softer on the acidic side, and if kept with minimum to no contact, it invokes more fruity tastes like that of green apples and peaches.
The heightened aroma and taste over time are owing to a natural compound present within the Carricante grapes. This compound is called TDN (1,1,6,-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronapthalene) and whilst all wines contain the compound, it is more noticable in aromatic white wines such as Carricante. This compound gives the wine hints of petrol or diesel-like aromas (Yes, you heard it right) and and is ultimately responsible for its aromatic flavours.
Carricante: Blending and Pairing
Carricante is widely used to blend with other wines. The grapes have proven to provide increased softness and finesse to the wines when combined. The blends would tone the acidity in the Carricante down and enable it to shine through. They are mostly blended with other Sicilian grapes like Ansonica, Catarratto, Minnella, and Nerello Mascalese.
When it comes to pairing with food items, the Carricante wine, due to its highly acidic and aromatic notes, pairs well with highly flavorful and spicy foods. Spicy Asian dishes or herby and earthy Italian dishes would be the perfect pairing for the wine.
What does Carricante taste like?
Carricante is the Sicilian answer to Riesling. Light bodied, dry, with citrusy aromas and a strong mineral note due to the Etna terroir, where this excellent grape is planted.
What grape is Carricante?
Carricante is an ancient Sicilian white grape, has been grown on the slopes of Etna volcano for at least a thousand years. This grape variety is used in the Etna DOC, blended with the Catarratto grape, another popular Sicilian white grape.
How do you pronounce Carricante?
Carricante is pronounced almost exactly as it is written (car-ree-KAAN-tey) aside from the "i" which is elongated into an "ee" sound.
What to pair with Carricante?
Carricante is very versatile and the wine is made in Sicily, said so it pairs well with fish based dishes and sea food, white meats and grilled vegetables like aubergines. On the International side, Asian, Thai and curries will be a great apir too.