Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso “Feudo di Mezzo” Il Quadro delle Rosso 2006
Sicily evokes images of hot and dry weather and long seasons. Etna, however, is as unusual as it is beautiful, with its cool and moist climate and rich volcanic soil. Etna is a still active volcano (its last eruption was last week) situated in central eastern Sicily near the picturesque town of Taormina and its ancient greek theatre which overlooks the Volcano. It’s a romantic place where you can climb the hills to find some of the world’s greatest oranges and nuts. I distinctly remember climbing the hills for hours, stopping at the gates of an orchard, and spending a few cents on a couple intensely hued blood red oranges picked only a couple hours earlier. Up to that point in my life, I had never had any fruit with quite that intensity and explosive expression, and that was an orange. Since then Mount Etna has had held a special place in my heart and its wines never fail to both bring me back to those juicy bites and impress me with their purity and freshness.
This Ain’t No Nero D’Avola
Yes Nero D’Avola can make great wine, but the wines of Mount Etna are mostly made with Nerello Mascalese, a local variety that is very well suited to the soil and climate of the Volcano. Sometimes the unsung indigenous varieties of Italy remain in obscurity for good reason, but Nerello Mascalese is worthy of your attention. These particular vines are 60-80 years old.
While Tenuta delle Terre Nere is a relatively new winery, making its first wine in 2002, it has embraced Etna’s diverse soils with passion. This wine is one of their ‘cru’ offerings made from a small north facing vineyard in “Feudo di Mezzo”. The soils are black volcanic ash, which is a contrast to the soil types of adjacent crus “Calderara Sottana” and “Guardiola”, which have rocky lava as a base.
This is an aromatically impressive wine, with earth, red cherry and lots and lots of spice. The flavours are delicious: really bright fresh red cherry, strawberry and spice with a wonderfully luscious texture. There is also a nice sweet authenticity to the perfectly ripened fruit. The acidity impresses considerably.
Simply, I love this wine and highly recommend it for anyone seeking something unique but also for those that like fruit driven wines that are also very regionally expressive and have pert natural acidity that keeps the wine very fresh. Ripe tannins give the wine structure and confidence to sit in the bottle for some time, even as it is drinking very well right now. It is this sort of wine that Italy does better than anywhere else. The best one word description? Mouthwatering.
Thanks to Kirk at Kits Wine for pointing this out to me.
$57 at Kits Wine Cellar