It seems everyone in Sicily produces wine, but only a few are committed to making organic natural wine. We caught up with Salvatore Tamburello, whose whole family, including his wife and children, are involved in the business in Poggioreale in the province of Trapani.
Luxurious Magazine: Producing grapes for wines has been in your family for many generations, But tell us, how did your wine journey begin?
Salvatore Tamburello: The company has passed down through five generations. I have always had a passionate interest in the business, but I only took ownership in 2006 after my father’s death. We started making wine with the 2014 harvest; before this, all of the grapes we produced were sold and shipped to other wineries.
Having found that we were producing organic grapes of the highest quality, we wanted to verify that the wines came out of their vinification. We were very satisfied with the results, and our journey into the world of wine began, and we are increasingly encouraged in this direction.
LM: Your vineyard was planted an hour from Palermo, near Poggioreale, a ghost town that was swept away by a devastating earthquake in 1968. Was it challenging to make this area suitable for a vineyard?
ST: This area is part of the western part of Sicily, which by density has the most vineyard land area in Europe, so we have been producing for generations in an area that is perfectly suited to vines. The land has been cultivated to ensure we have the best grapes. It has taken plenty of time and effort over the years, but it has been totally worth it.
LM: People are much more aware of the ethos of wine and the process required to produce it. Was this a factor in specialising in unfiltered wines?
ST: Our unfiltered wines arise from the fact that we realised that the wines in the tank, before the clarification, stabilisation and filtration phases, were even richer in aromas, fragrances and other important organoleptic characteristics. We decided to offer wines to consumers using the same integral process: taking it directly from the vat and bottling it without any other oenological process. It is how the ‘N’ line wines were born, and they are proving to be very popular.
LM: How different, let’s say, is the production process of unfiltered wines compared to other wines?
ST: The vinification process of our grapes, in general, is based on the very high quality of the grapes and therefore, we need to pay a lot of attention in the vineyard. Our “unfiltered” wines do not undergo the processes of stabilisation, clarification and filtration; in fact, they are bottled in their natural state. We want our customers to enjoy our wines in the most natural way possible.
LM: Yours is a family business, and we understand everyone joins in. How involved is the family in the process?
ST: The whole family, especially my wife Manuela, is involved in all business decisions. We have collaborators for the work in the field and the cellar. Our enologist Vincenzo Leone, my two daughters, 14-year-old Emma and 18-year-old Sofia, are very busy studying, but they get involved with fairs and promotional events when possible. They are always present with my wife during harvest time and participate in all bottling. Everything is done with the family’s involvement, which is the best thing about our winery.
LM: Tell us about the selection of wines available in the UK. How did you decide which ones would suit the British palette?
ST: The decision was made after careful, detailed discussion and analysis with Oleg and Elvira of Independent Wines (UK specialist in award-winning Italian wine). Thanks to their expertise and professionalism in the wine sector, we started with the ‘306’ classic organic Nero d’Avola (Filtered), a typical Sicilian grape known internationally.
We then suggested the inclusion of the cricket, but above all, we insisted on the ‘N’ line of the ‘Unfiltered’ 306 N – Nero d’Avola” and ‘204 N Grillo’, as we were convinced that British wine lovers would really appreciate this particular line. Next on the agenda will be the ‘797 N Catarratto’ (above) and the ‘Trebbiano N’. We are sure that these will be appreciated by our British friends as much as the Italians.
LM: What is your favourite wine, and what food do you like to pair it with?
ST: That’s a difficult question because I love all my wines. But if I were to be really, really picky and single out one wine as a producer, I would have to say that I love to combine the ‘306 N’ cooled to about 16 degrees with a steak of grilled tuna. For me, it’s the ultimate feel-good meal and drink combination after a hard day’s work.
LM: What are the future prospects for the vineyard and the cellar?
ST: There is much going on in the winery and vineyard and lots coming up in terms of producing newer wines. We have planted a new Syrah vineyard, where we have been resting the yeasts for ten months for a ‘classic method’ from the 2019 harvest.
We have also begun to work on the construction of our new cellar that will allow us to experiment further with the use of concrete tanks and tonneaux (thin barrel or type of keg ). We are always trying to find innovative ways to produce great wines which can be appreciated by both Italians and the British alike and, of course, anyone else that enjoys a good wine.
For more information on Salvatore Tamburello’s wines, visit https://www.independent.wine/winemaker/salvatore-tamburello/.
Read more interviews by Sabi Phagura here.