Italian adventure

Photos Yanni

It was in the late 1980’s that Garry Crittenden first developed a fascination with Italian wine and, consequently, grape varieties.

There was little known of the varieties in Australia, as we had firmly grasped the French Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, and not given any consideration to the Italian Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo.

In the mid 1990’s, Garry was fortunate enough to be awarded a grant to deepen the study of Italian varieties in Australia and set upon a multi-year journey that ended in the publication of “Italian wine grape varieties in Australia”, a book still held in high regard in the industry both here and abroad.

Fast forward to early 2020 when Garry’s son Rollo broke some good news.

“He took me aside one day and let on that he had secured a parcel of Nero d’Avola grapes. This legendary Italian variety has its origin near the town of Avola in southern Sicily!”

He wondered if Garry would like to “have a play”.

“I could hardly believe my luck,” said Garry.

“In the 20 years I worked with Italian grapes they were varieties entirely from the north of the country and here I was being presented with a belated chance to ‘have a play’ with what is regarded by many as one of its top southern wine varieties.”

The Italian Nero d’Avola variety, coming from the warm Southern Italian climate, produces wine of such elegance and finesse, always bright and fresh with astonishing crimson luminescence, somewhere between a Pinot Noir and Shiraz.

“I read extensively on what to expect and jumped in feet first, literally!” said Garry.

“I could hardly wait to get started.”

Garry’s Nero d’Avola “Catto” is now in the bottle and ready to go with free shipping for a pack of six.

“I am delighted with how it has turned out to either drink now or cellar for a few years.”

Each six pack of Catto purchased comes with a booklet detailing the origins of the “Catto” label and information on Garry’s role in the development of Italian varietals
in Australia.

Order at:

Peninsula Essence – October 2021