The history The land The vineyards and the cellar

The Azienda Agricola Poggio di Bortolone was founded by the Cosenza Family at the end of the eighteenth century, immediately after Sicily’s transition out of feudalism and the annexation by mainland Italy. Since then it has been passed down from father to son and today Pierluigi Cosenza, son of Ignatius, is the current owner and manager of the Poggio di Bortolone Estate. Whilst embracing the long established Family traditions, he is introducing fresh and innovative ideas to build on the successes of the past.

The land has been used for the cultivation of vines,, olives and wheat over many centuries and today the winery's ancient wooden press and traditonal oil mill are to be found amongst the relics of bygone days to remind visitors of the proud origins of the Estate. The old and now redundant limestone watermill beside the river Para Para is being lovingly restored to its former splendour and is yet another reminder of past traditions which continued right up until the end of World War II.

Around 1970 Ignazio Cosenza, Father of the current owner, decided to give the Family business a new direction which heralded the start the modern Estate which is known today as Poggio di Bortolone, a name derived from a Sicilian colloquial expression, Puoiu ri Burtuluni, describing an Estate whose origins are found on the top of a small hill.

In the 1980’s Ignazio’s’ vision of a modern Estate began to be realised. His creation, Poggio di Bortolone D.O.C.G. - Cerasuolo di Vittoria, with its historic label depicting U Puoiu with the manor house and the cellars was first bottled in 1982 and met with wide acclaim from 1984 onwards. In the same year he began the production of the Contessa Constanza which proved even more popular than his previous creation. Throughout the remaining years of the 1980s he introduced a number of innovations in the cellars by replacing the traditional oak and chestnut vats with stainless steel versions to enable the Cosenza winery to market their produce internationally by the end of the decade.

The 1990’s witnessed a plethora of new experiments both in the vineyard and in the cellar. New varietals were planted including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The quality of the Petit Verdot became noticed by research institutions and the Estate was ultimately invited to participate in a major experimental project. Thereafter a succession of new wines emerged, namely, Pigi in 1998, Petitverdò in 2001 and Addamanera in 2002. The Estate also experimented with the use of Bordeaux barriques style barrels to improve the ageing process of the wine – the best example of which was il Para Para in 1999.

Since then there has been a steady increase in the number of productions and awards, the pinnacle of which took place in the summer of 2005. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the Cosenza family, the Estate has obtained the Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed (DOCG) Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Following a major rebuilding project and the installation of modern plant and machinery in 2009, a new ‘state of the art’ winery has been created which operates totally underground to take fullest advantage of optimal temperature and humidity control to ensure the proper ageing of the wines it produces.

The company which is close to the town of Chiaramonte Gulfi in the province of Ragusa (South Eastern Sicily) is located in the hilly area that exactly between the Hyblaean Mountains and the plains of Gela in the heart of the historic production region of Cerasuolo Vittoria Classico DOCG. It stretches over 60 acres in a series of hills and valley floors criss-crossed for centuries by vineyards and dotted with olive trees. This creates a unique and romantic landscape which is further enhanced by two rivers – the Para Para and the Mazzarronello that create a series of loops around a natural oasis where untouched, lush Mediterranean vegetation abounds including oak, carob and poplars as well as reeds which provide a refuge for all kinds of wildlife such as foxes, porcupines and rabbits.

The ground slopes gently down to a series of dams and terraces eeked out over the ages by patient and clever farmers. The land lies between 220 and 270 metres above sea level and consists of sandy soil which ranges in colour from yellow-ochre to reddish-brown depending on the iron content. The sub-soil is deep but has low water retention qualities which reduces the number of bunches of grapes per vine to intensify the overall quality of the fruit.

The climate is typically Mediterranean with rainfall most prominent thoughout the autumn and winter months counterbalanced by the long dry spring and summer months. The terrain is hilly throughout the region therefore the day/night temperature range is high which is ideal for the production of high quality, desease-free olive oil and wine.

The vineyards which extend to approximately 15 hectares are surrounded by the higher ground and sheltered by the ridges to make optimal use of the hot Sicilian sun. The vines are planted along the valley floors throughout the estate where the sediment which is rich in nutrients, has collected. The principal cultivated varietals are Nero d'Avelo, Frappato, Syrah, Cabinet-Sauvignon and Petit Verdot but the the Estate also grows older varietals such as Grosso Nero which has almost become virtually extinct. The Estate's viticulture practices restrict the number of bunches per vine to produce wine of the highest quality that exudes both character and personality. The viticulture is supported by vinification techniques using the latest available technology housed in a purpose-built underground cellar providing year-round temperature and humidity control. This 'up to the minute' equipment optimises the ageing processes to enable the Estate to produce both refined and highly distinguished wines.

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