Planeta Wines

 A man and family with a vision.

Talk about a family business - Planeta is a group of 5 winery estates in 5 corners of the island of Sicily. Planeta’s reach gives opportunity to many many of its extensive and extended family. 15 cousins and a total of 200 extended family. 

Those 5 locations give plenty of opportunity to create a diverse portfolio of wines, because they sought out microclimates and soils from sea level to 900 metres atop Mt Etna to plant and nurture their grapes, and establish winery estates. 

Planeta’s Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, Sicily’s only DOCG, the highest standard. Made with the grapes Nero di Avola, and Frappato, it beams with aromas and flavors of cherry and pomegranate.

It started with Diego. Moving beyond his father’s agricultural business, he envisioned changing the dynamics of mostly bulk wine being produced from Sicilian grapes to that of an elevated beverage. He wanted to introduce the world to high quality Sicilian wine, and to do that in a way that the world would take notice, was to start with a well recognized variety, not an obscure native Sicilian one. The idea was to get people interested in Planeta (and other Sicilian wineries) by making a high quality wine that the public was familiar with. Chardonnay was their choice. After gaining their trust with Chardonnay, Planeta could introduce the local native varieties to their consumers, and they would buy and love those as well.

Planeta Wines Lineup

Estates are dedicated to hospitality and culture, including restaurants, lodging, cooking classes, mountain bike tours, live music, theater, art, (including artists in residence!). Artists of many kinds- (photographers, painters, writers) have been invited to develop and express their impressions of the sights, sounds and terrain. Seems to me you could get to know Sicily pretty well just by visiting their 5 estates! 

What impressed me most about Planeta however, (without having visited in person), is their fundamental, decades long, and now cemented and accelerated commitment to sustainability within their vineyards and wineries. The acceleration came in 2010 with the advent of the Sicily SOStain Foundation. The foundation started from the ground up by the producers of wine. Based on 10 minimum requirements for certification by an independent 3rd party, it reminds me of the holistic certifying body of Lodi Rules. Not simply concerned with herbicide use - SOStain requires biodiversity in the vineyard, use of eco-friendly materials, (from vineyard to bottle), locally sourced grapes, lack of chemicals herbicides, efficiency in energy use, bottle weight, and proof of no chemical residue in final product. 

Diego Planeta uplifted the reputation of Sicilian wines by improving techniques, using international varieties that people near and far would recognize, and after gaining the wine drinking community’s trust, combined the indigenous varieties with the international, and finally let the native varieties speak and shine on their own. It was a progression, and brilliantly conceived. 

What makes this grand plan even more significant, is the impact on the wines. The commitment by Diego Planeta, and furthered by his kin, to uplift Sicily’s wine reputation is immediately apparent in the mouth. The result is drinking Sicily’s indigenous varieties and loving every food friendly minute of it. 

LA Wine Writers were hosted to a luncheon at Drago Central in Downtown LA, showcasing Planeta’s wines with exquisite Italian cuisine. 

Wines tasted were:

Allemanda Bianca 2021

Served with Seafood Arancini with Saffron Aioli & Ahi Tuna Tartar

Eruzione 1614 Carricante 2018

Served with Seared Octopus, Potato Puree, Baked Onions, Parsley

Frappato 2020 Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2020

Served with Paccheri, Swordfish, Fennel 
Garganelli, Pork Sausage, Fennel Pollen

Nocera 2017 Mamertino 2017
Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese 2018

Served with Short Rib, Mushroom Barley

Cannoli- Ricotta and Pistachio Cream


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