Planeta di Santa Cecilia was the sonorous name of a Spanish noble family that moved to Sicily centuries ago. Their descendants call themselves simply Planeta. Basta.
Baron Diego Planeta
Until 1995, they cultivated tropical fruits, vegetables and cereals. Then Baron Diego Planeta decided to change completely to viticulture. A courageous decision, because at that time the reputation of Sicilian wines was close to zero. His daughter Francesca and her cousins Alessio and Santi wanted to change that. Soon, fifteen siblings, cousins and aunts helped. In an amazingly short time, the family succeeded in reinventing Sicilian wine. Planeta has risen to become the shining fixed star in the sky above the international wine world. "We are family people, we pull together and respect each other. This is what our success is based on", Alessio Planeta, who is leading the renowned company, reveals. Reto Vergani has always believed in newcomers, thus, proving once again his good nose for wines. And for people. A close, deep friendship has developed between the two families.
"We are family people, pull together and respect each other. That's what our success is based on."
Alessio Planeta, co-owner Planeta
Not far from Menfi lies Planeta's Dispensa estate. It serves as summer residence and logistics center. The winery produces the noble, Bordeaux-like Burdese. And a white wine that flashes on the palate like a starry tail: Cometa. Francesca Planeta welcomes us to the magnificent library, where countless books invite us to browse.
Numerous relatives join them. The atmosphere is very warm. I feel very comfortable among the cosmopolitan, well-travelled and articulate hosts. Their cultivated demeanor and modesty are in pleasant contrast to the boorish behavior and rampant pomposity of many contemporaries.
Together we climb into the private wine cellar. A grate with a padlock denies access to the most precious drops. Unfortunately, the key has disappeared from the face of the earth. Francesca is not deterred. The handsome young woman mischievously picks the lock. Her relatives acknowledge the feat with loud cheers. The party can begin. We toast with the best vintages of Planeta's top wine Santa Cecilia. The purple Nero d'Avola comes from the Grand Cru zone of Noto and reminds us of the old family name. For dinner in the rustic dining room, we indulge in fennel with oranges, garden-fresh salads, fabulously delicious pasta, tender grilled lamb and excellent Syrah. The meal is rounded off with the wonderful sweet wine Passito di Noto and Aunt Marina's cassata cake. Over the obligatory espresso, Marina's seventy-something sister tells us about her visit to evening mass. Afterwards, the priest would have wanted to discuss important matters with her. Today of all days! But she had stood the priest up and hurried to the hairdresser to have her hair done for the visit of the Svizzeri. Immediately a turbulent debate breaks out about her haircut. The comments range from top to poodle-like. Her relatives surround her, some doubled over with laughter, Francesca climbs up on a chest to make herself heard. There is joking late into the night. Truly, the Planeta family lives on a lucky star.
Text: Daminan Zingg | Image: Planeta | Source: Vergani Magazine 4