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Etna threesome

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Etna Rosso 2014, Rossodiverzella, Benanti ($25.10, 11348459)
Nerello Mascalese (85%) and Nerello Cappuccio (15%) from 10- to 60-year-old vines grown in parcels on the northern, southeastern and southwestern slopes of Mount Etna at altitudes varying from 450 to 900 m. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Fermentation and 20- to 21-day maceration with selected yeasts take place in stainless steel vats. Maturation – 80% in stainless steel tanks, 20% in French oak barriques – lasts eight to 10 months. Reducing sugar: 2.3 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: L’Enoteca.
Fragrant nose of red berries, plum and spice with a faint floral perfume. Medium-bodied, fleet and quite dry. The sweet-tart fruit unfurls like veils across the palate. Bright acidity and supple tannins provide a light but present structure. A vein of volcanic minerals runs from the mid-palate into the long, slightly astringent finish. Such an appealing blend of fresh and savoury. (Buy again? Yes.)

Etna Rosso 2013, Graci ($27.80, 13041830)
Nerello Mascalese (100%) grown on the northern-eastern slopes of Mount Etna at an altitude of 600-700 m. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts and maceration on the skins are in concrete tanks and last for around 30 days. Matured 18 months in concrete tanks with spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Reducing sugar: 1.9 g/l. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Symbiose.
The darker, more minerally nose is marked by old wood, cherry, plum, spice chest and leather aromas. In the mouth, the wine is heftier and headier than the Benanti, the fruit is riper without seeming jammy and the flavours are entertaining. A smooth current of acidity brings welcome freshness while cushy tannins provide torque. The persistent finish has a tarry edge. (Buy again? Sure.)

Etna Rosso 2013, Barone di Villagrande ($28.60, 12988167)
Nerello Mascalese (80%) and Nerello Cappuccio (20%) from organically farmed vines on the southern slopes of Mount Etna. Maceration and fermentation in temperature-controlled tanks lasts six to 10 days. Matured 12 months in 500-litre Etna oak barrels. Altitude: 650-700 m. Reducing sugar: 2.5 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: AOC & cie.
Jammier on the nose, showing the expected cherry and plum along with aromas described as “a bit coffee,” “fruitcake,” “molasses” and “pomegranate.” Bigger, denser and fruitier than its flightmates. Fundamentally dry though the very ripe fruit gives an impression of sweetness. It also drives complexity and depth into the background. A dusty quality colours the mid-palate and lingers into the long finish. May benefit from a few more years in the cellar. At this point too New Worldish and Parkerized for me, though some around the table loved it. (Buy again? Unlikely.)

MWG January 12, 2017, tasting: flight 6 of 7

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Written by carswell

February 6, 2017 at 12:57

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