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We like to call Battista Belvisi, “Battistone” for his friends, the amber King Midas of Pantelleria, as he’s able to mystically craft orange gold from the magical grapes of this Mediterranean paradise. Pantelleria, sitting in the deep turquoise expanse between Sicily and Africa, is a volcanic world of its own, with its vine-training method “albero pantesco” recognized by UNESCO as a treasure of humanity.

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Having worked for years as a famed agronomist Battista released in 2016 the first vintage of Abbazia San Giorgio, which now covers about 3 hectares, fragmented into several micro-parcels, of mostly Zibibbo and some Pignatelli, Grillo, Catarratto and Nerello Mascalese. The vines are elder and wise, with an average age of 60 years, and sink their roots on rich volcanic soils. Work in the vineyards, which are beautifully terraced and overlooking the sea, is strictly biodynamic and splendidly natural in the cellar, with wild fermentation and long macerations, no humiliating fining or filtration or added SO2. Battista’s super-charged flaming beasts of natural wines are just like him but go well beyond reflecting their maker and acquire a distinct life of their own: brightly spontaneous, deeply territorial, vibrantly alive and infused with a joyous and untamable energy.

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