If you see non-vintage and immediately think sparkling wine, we can’t blame you, but this is actually a non-vintage red wine from Massimiliano Calabretta, one of Sicily’s most exciting winemakers. For many years, Massimilliano and his father Massimo sold their wines only to restaurants and private customers, before their first bottled vintage in 1997. Almost instantly, they developed a reputation for a singular style. In a region where many winemakers favor a modern approach, Calabretta is decidedly old school. “I make wines like Bartolo Mascarello,” Massimiliano once said, referring to his traditional approach to both farming and winemaking, as well as his preference for long aging in massive Slovenian botti. Even though this is his “young” wine, it includes wine from as old as 2005. “Cala cala” means “gulp, gulp” in local dialect, and that’s exactly what this wine demands you do.
The Cala Cala is complex, layered, and redolent of a mellowing that only comes from aging. The tannins are velvety, and the notes of earth and smoke intermingle with a still-present core of red fruit. A perfect accompaniment to roast chicken on a cold winter night, this wine offers a window into a time when vignerons were less worried about critic scores and label design than they were about producing something delicious and lasting. It will make you an instant believer in the potential of non-vintage still wines.