Colour: dark, intense ruby red with purple-red hues that over time become more garnet
Bouquet: intense, similar to that of small, red fruits like cherries, blueberries, strawberries and blackcurrant juice
Flavour: sweet, full bodied, with a sapid and unexpected aftertaste that continues to linger
Minimum alcohol content: 19% with at least 12% after fermentation
Minimum total acidity: 6 g/l
Minimum net dry extract: 35 g/l
Best served with: it is perfect with the typical "schiaccia briaca" of Elba, the traditional cake made with sultanas, pine nuts, dried fruit and obviously aleatico. Fantastic with chocolate, fruit tarts, custard and forest fruits. In summer it is often served with slices of peach. Less common but equally popular is to serve it at the end of a meal with blue cheeses like Gorgonzola or Roquefort. It can also be enjoyed and sipped as a wine for meditating.
Temperature best served at: 12°-14° C
Elba DOCG Aleatico Passito is a natural non-liquer sweet wine, extraordinarily elegant and with an intense bouquet. It is the first DOCG from the Tuscan Archipelago islands; the first bottles of DOCG Aleatico are from the 2011 grape harvest.
Elba DOCG Aleatico Passito is made from 100% Aleatico grapes produced "in the administrative territory of the municipalities on the Island of Elba" andespecially selected, infact each bunch that is picked has to be whole, perfect and completely ripe; those that have any molded or damaged grapes are not taken into consideration.
Interesting fact: Aleaticois the very best autochthonous variety of grapes on the Island of Elba and is considered an absolute jewel in the field of wine production on the island. :
Each vineyard covers an area of 40 hectares of which 170 are cultivated with the specific aim of producing Elba Docg; the grapes have a thin, delicate skin and suffer if left attached to the vine once they are ripe because the end product then becomes scarce.
The vineyards, later planted again according to the DOCG, must have at least 5000 bushes per hectare, with a maximum production of 70 tons of grapes per hectare.
The production of each bunch must not weigh more than 1,8 kg and the minimum alcohol volume of all the grapes for the wine must be at least 11,5%.
Aleatico is made by following a strictly and completely natural process that has been passed down from generation to generation.
The maximum end production of the wine grapes must not exceed 35% of the fresh grapes, and once the grapes have been accurately selected they must be left for at least 10 days to dry in the sun on the ground, or on trellises or in equally suitable places, until the sugar content is at least 30%.
Once the drying process has been completed, the grapes are then pressed and this is when fermentation takes place along with the skins. When the necessary alcohol level has been reached, the skins are removed from the wine (this is the marc, from which the excellent grappa comes from). At this point in time the wine may undergo a final step in steel vats or further ageing in wooden casks.
Some firms prefer to make a very sweet wine while others prefer to make a dry one. It is precisely how long the drying process takes place that determines and makes all the difference to the Aleatico between one firm and another.
Putting Aleatico Passito DOCG from Elba on the market is allowed from the first March 1st of the following year after the grapes have been produced.
Most producers tend to put the wine made from the latest grape harvesting on the market while others prefer to let the wine age for a year.
Hint from Infoelba: download the excellent article by Stefano Bramanti, published in La Madia Travelfood by Elsa Mazzolini (April 2011), in honour of Aleatico wine, its history and the firms in Elba that produce it (PDF file, 1,60 MB).
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