Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG October 2nd tasting: report (2/2)

with 2 comments

A Belgian transplanted to the slopes of Mount Etna, Frank Cornelissen is a natural winemaker’s natural winemaker. For background information and an explanation of why the wines’ high prices are justified, I can’t do better than link to Jamie Goode’s reports here and, more recently, here.

As some of the wines are blends of more than one vintage, Cornelissen numbers the productions of each cuvée sequentially.

I find the wines hard to describe as they’re quite unlike any other I’ve encountered and the regular descriptors don’t necessarily apply. But that uniqueness only adds to their appeal.

Rosso del Contadino 8, Azienda agricola Frank Cornelissen ($31.88, Glou)
A blend of local grapes, white and red, from the difficult 2010 vintage. 13.5% ABV.
Beautiful nose: spice, spruce, lava sand, pomegranate. Barely medium-bodied with bright acid and just enough tannins. Tingly, juicy, minerally, bittersweet, fruity (cherry and more pomegranate). Not very deep but what a surface! Am looking forward to trying this lightly chilled with a Sicilian rabbit stew. (Buy again? Yes.)

MunJebel Rosso 7, Azienda agricola Frank Cornelissen ($65.95, Glou)
Nerello Mascalese from various vineyards and the 2009 and 2010 vintages. 14% ABV.
Complex nose: funk, leather, red plum, gravel. Rocks, berries and herbs on the palate. A tense balance between acid and fruit. Tannins are there if you look for them. Gained pomegranate and slate in a way that reminded me a little of Occhipinti’s Siccangno (Nero d’Avola). An involving wine. (Buy again? Yes.)

Magma Rosso 8, Azienda agricola Frank Cornelissen ($185.90, Glou, NLA)
A super selection of usually single cru ripe Nerello Mascalese grapes, these from the 2009 vintage. 15% ABV.
All of the above plus leather, ephemeral spice, tar, mineral, funk, leather, dried meat, tea. Richer in the mouth but not heavier. An acidic undercurrent runs from start to finish. The intense core of fruit is wrapped in a complex matrix of minerals. Quite structured, though not in ways I’m accustomed to. The alcohol is not apparent. Exotic and beautiful. (Buy again? If price were no object, yes.)

MunJebel Bianco 7, Azienda agricola Frank Cornelissen ($45.50, Glou, NLA)
An “orange” wine (a white made like a red, with extended maceration on the skins) made from Carricante, Grecanico Dorato and Coda di Volpe from the 2010 vintage. 13% ABV.
Complex bouquet: initial funk then minerals, oxidized pear, hints of dried orange peel and herbs. A bit blurry on the palate. Soft texture and medium weight. Animated by an undercurrent of acidity. Straw and minerals dominate the flavour profile. Some tannins and a bitter almond note creep in on the long finish. Intriguing. (Buy again? Quite possibly.)

Written by carswell

November 3, 2012 at 11:12

2 Responses

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  1. […] Double-carafed about an hour before serving, this kept improving in the glass. Bolder than the Contadino 8. Would love to taste them side by side. (Buy again? […]

  2. […] MunJebel Rosso 8, Azienda agricola Frank Cornelissen ($51.59, Glou, 6 bottles/case) Nerello Mascalese from various vineyards and mostly (84%) from the 2011 vintage. The remaining 16% is 2010 that’s passed over the pulp before pressing. All grapes are destemmed. A starter cuvée is made from grapes picked a week earlier than the rest. Fermentation, with natural yeasts, is in 1,000-litre plastic vats. The post-fermentation wine is clarified by settling, then matured on its fine lees. Unfiltered and unfined. No added anything, including sulphur dioxide. 15% ABV. Engaging “natural” nose: red plum and cherries, volcano dust, animale and unspecified funk. Intense and complex in the mouth. The pure fruit is ripe and dry, present but not oppressive, shaped by high acidity and fine tight tannins, humming with overtones of dried herbs and maquis and undertones of dark minerals. Long, savoury, astringent finish. No heat, though the alcohol may explain the glyceriny, liqueur-like texture. A wonderful, fluent, elemental wine. (Buy again? Pricey but, yes, especially since it’s $15 less than the 7.) […]

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