Food & Drinks

Sip With the Stars: Meet Planeta, the Sicilian Winery Featured in HBO’s ‘White Lotus’

HBO’s “White Lotus” is wrapping up its second season this weekend after captivating audiences with its satirical quips and extravagantly wealthy protagonists. The season’s much-anticipated finale airs at 9 p.m. EST on HBO and HBO Max this Sunday.

For those who haven’t already binged, the scripted series follows the bizarre vacation romps of several wealthy individuals. The program’s namesake luxury hotel chain is set at a tropical destination in Hawaii in season one, while the second installment is set in Sicily.

It’s a setting known for its distinctive wine styles and increasingly trendy status as a vacation spot, so it’s only fitting that vino flows freely throughout the season.

The series’ best and most notable portrayal of wine so far takes place in episode five, where an affluent group of four “friends” sips at a vineyard in Etna.

“Apparently, the wine has, like, a bunch of volcanic minerals in it,” Daphne (played by (Meghann Fahy) gushes prior to the group’s day trip. As the winery is located nearby to the active volcano Mount Etna, there’s truth in her statement. The Etna DOC — one of the first recognized wine regions in Sicily, established in 1968 — is known for its volcanic soils, which lead to mineral-driven wines — though this doesn’t necessarily promise glowing skin and nails, as the fictional Daphne suggests.

Once the group arrives at the picturesque vineyard, tension ensues over a few glasses. The scenes were actually filmed on-site at the Planeta Sciaranuova Winery, according to People. The family-owned and -operated winery offers balanced Chardonnays and exceptionally complex reds, among numerous others. Seventeen generations of the Planeta family cultivated the Sicilian land in different forms, finally opening a vineyard in 1985 under Diageo management. The winery focuses on sustainable production for the long-term.

In 2020, two wines from the Etna area were featured in VinePair’s Top 50 Wines list: Tornatore Etna Rosso 2017 and Giovanni Rosso Etna Bianco DOC 2018. Wines specifically from Planeta scored fairly high when previously reviewed by VinePair, scoring in the low-to-mid 90s out of 100.

White wine flows as Daphne and Cameron (Theo James) canoodle at the table, ensuring sufficient awkwardness among an uncomfortable Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and Ethan (Will Sharp). The server pours them glasses of Etna Bianco, a delicate straw-colored liquid which Harper promptly knocks back.

While she slurps down the wine with the ease of a college student slinging Barefoot, it’s a remarkably tasteful vino retailing for roughly $20-$30. Affordable and deliciously juicy, the mineral-forward wine is a wonderful addition to any watch party.

This scene isn’t the sole example of wine sipping on “White Lotus” — and in anticipation of the juicy finale, it most likely won’t be the last.

Looking forward to the season’s conclusion? Now is the perfect time to pick up a “White Lotus”-inspired bottle, such as these beautiful recommendations from Planeta.

Happy sipping!

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