- Country: Italy
- Region: Sicily
- Tenuta Rapitala
Tenuta Rapitalà represents the foundation of Sicily, a marriage of cultures that creates its own unique identity. At Rapitala, the originality and power of Sicilian terroir blend with the elegant style of French winemaking. In 1968, the French-born Count Hugues Bernard de la Gatinais, and his wife, Gigi Guarrasi from Palermo, inherited this estate from the Guarrasi family after it was destroyed by an earthquake. The winery was soon rebuilt and vineyards were replanted to include not only indigenous varieties, but beloved French varieties as well. At the forefront of the quality revolution in Sicily, Rapitala was one of the very first producers on the island to offer estate bottled wines, starting with the 1976 vintage.
Today, Rapitala’s over 550 contiguous hectares of gentle, undulating slopes which lie at 1,000-2,000 ft above sea level are divided in 180 unique vineyard parcels. Each parcel is managed, harvested and vinified separately, crafting 100% estate-bottled for optimal terroir expression. The work, started by Hugues de la Gatinais and his wife Gigi, is now carried on by their son, Laurent, with the same care and passion. He has overseen Rapitala’s constant mission to integrate and improve sustainable practices and new technologies into the property in order to achieve the purest expression of this region’s distinct terroir.
The Terroir of Tenuta Rapitala
The 618-acre contiguous vineyard slope that is Tenuta Rapitalà is characterized by gentle, undulating hills that start at 1,000-foot elevation and gently climb up to almost 2,000 feet on soils that alternate between clay and sand. Varying exposures, altitudes and soils create a universe of terroirs that drives the success of this estate. This vineyard is divided into 180 unique parcels, each of which is managed, harvested and vinified separately for optimal terroir expression.
Recently rebuilt, the cellar now benefits from the most innovative vinification equipment and techniques: cooling equipment for the grapes and musts; steel fermenters with computerized systems for controlling temperatures, remontage (punching down of the cap) and cap management. (This also means that these cellar innovations enable harvesting from mid-August through November based on the correct ripeness for each variety and parcel. No one else in Sicily has a harvest window this large.) The cellar holds French oak barriques (20% new) and large French oak casks from 1,300 gallons to 800 gallons in volume.
Rapitalà strives to craft estate wines that exhibit the bold flavors and Mediterranean aromas intrinsic to the Sicilian terroir.