Diego Planeta was one of Sicily’s greatest spokesmen and driving forces for championing the island's wines, and more importantly highlighting that Sicily can make world class wine.
His impact on Sicily’s agriculture industry is one of the reasons for the successful evolution and rejuvenation of the island. With Diego’s drive for quality, he was a man of long term vision, thinking and planning in terms of generations with key benchmarks at mere decades. By combining the Planeta family estates across the generations and around the island, Planeta became one of the most respected and noted wine producers in Sicily. With numerous estates and farms throughout key regions of Sicily, Planeta became the benchmark for representing the whole of Sicily. From local grapes, producing regional everyday wines to wines of distinctive terroirs and DOC, Planeta was represented.
Diego Planeta believed in the quality of Sicily’s diverse terroirs and wanted to showcase that not only can Sicily produce phenomenal native wines but also world class wines from some of the widest planted international grapes. Chardonnay became one of Diego’s passions and was first to showcase Planeta’s abilities to produce international wines. However, Cabernet Franc was one of Diego’s true loves and in 1999 he planted the Dispensa vineyard at the Ulmo estate in Menfi. The sweeping hills at Ulmo climb to 1,600 feet above sea level and the Dispensa vineyard sits on the crest of these hills along the Sumac Plain above the Chardonnay vineyard. The exposure, elevation and air movement have made this an ideal site for Cabernet Franc in a Mediterranean terroir.
As the next generation began to assume more of the daily responsibilities at Planeta, they created in 2014 a new label to pay homage to Diego Planeta and his forward thinking: Didacus.
Didacus is Diego’s nickname, given to him by his father, Vito. In 2014, Planeta produced a Didacus Chardonnay from the Ulmo vineyards in Menfi as Planeta Chardonnay has become the estates most widely recognized wine globally. To acknowledge Diego’s vision and the foundation of the quality that he achieved with Chardonnay, the estate in Menfi where Diego first planted Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc was selected. Two vintages later, the family released the first vintage of Cabernet Franc with the 2016 harvest.
Didacus Cabernet Franc 2016 is a wonderful first release. The wine showcases the best attributes of Cabernet Franc from a Mediterranean perspective. The 2016 behaves more as if it came from a cooler vintage, with its reserved personality and attack on the palate. The quality reminds me of a Cabernet Franc expression from Tuscany’s Bolgheri zone. The wine is built for aging and we have been tracking its progression since release last year. Now with an additional year post bottling, we are convinced that this wine has a fabulous 25 year life ahead, if not more. This has all the caliber and pedigree of a great Tuscan Cabernet Franc and is clearly a resounding success for the Planeta family.