Those Italians…

November 22, 2015

FullSizeRenderIf your formative years of wine exploration included the wines of Italy (mine did), then your cellar is probably well-represented with the well-know wines of Tuscany (Chianti and Brunello) and Piemonte (Barolo and Barbaresco). Anything beyond those two regions was a crap shoot and only occasionally got the attention of American wine drinkers. But now, the next generation of winemakers having been priced out of the vineyard market in both of these regions, have focused on the lesser-known areas to begin building a portfolio of artisanally crafted wines.

On the island of Sicily, much activity is being invested in bringing long-neglected vineyards back into production and in planting new ones. The Sicilians are producing large amounts of wine now, and we wine geeks are paying attention.

On Mt. Etna, the ancient volcanic soils are host some old and interesting vineyards, especially two varieties, Nerello Mascalese and Nero d’Avolo, both red.

I was swept away by the 2006 bottlings of the Etna Rosso of a producer named Terre Nere. Subsequent years, though very successful, suffered from too much alcohol for my palate, and so the wine sort of slipped off my radar…

But now the 2014 vintage of Tenuto delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso has been released, and boy(!) I am a believer again. Composed primarily of Nerello Mascalese, I opened a bottle on Sunday afternoon while occupied with turning the last bits of Thanksgiving into Pilgrim’s soup; slicing and dicing while slurping and sipping.

Though this is the entry level Rosso from Tenuto delle Terre Nere, (the more prestigious bottlings arrive later) this wine bodes well for the future,and the vintage in general from any serious producer in the region in 2014.

The 2014 Etna Rosso has a beguiling, delicacy about the bouquet I associate more with Pinot Noir (especially as in village level burgundies). It’s about cherry flavors with wonderful floral aromatics and some herbaceousness. Its quite delicate, and held together by a subtle, but firm tannic structure. I mean really – this wine is fantastic! Go get some and make sure it’s the 2014!

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2014 – $18-$22 at most fine wine shop