Casual notes on four Sicilian red wines
A few weeks ago we were joined by another family for a late afternoon gathering. The kids played while we tasted through a selection of Sicilian wines. It was a casual evening so I only jotted down brief impressions. To cut to the chase, the 2014 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso must be the most forward and generous vintage yet. It is a fruity, affordable wine from Etna to drink right now for our bottle seemed tired by the end of the evening. Still, it made for an enjoyable drink while we waited for the other bottles to come around. Whereas the 2013 COS, Pithos, Vittoria Rosso remained distractingly tannic and the 2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Aglaea, Etna too simple, the 2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Talia, Etna surprised us all. After 3-4 hours it became aromatic with an elegant style of complexity that had us all proclaiming it as our favorite as we then rapidly drained the bottle. These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 COS, Pithos, Vittoria Rosso – $34
Imported by Domaine Select Wines. This wine is a blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato. It is fermented in terracotta amphora of 250 and 400 liter capacities. The fermentation is allowed to take its own course so there is no temperature control and it typically lasts for seven months. Alcohol 12%. The somewhat floral nose is followed by tart red fruit and a wall of very fine tannins. It remained distractingly tannic, even with extended air, leaving the impression the structure will outlast the fruit. *(*) 2020? – 2026?
2014 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso – $17
Imported by deGrazia Imports. This wine is a blend of 95% Nerello Mascalese and 5% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from 5-50 year old vines on volcanic soils. It was fermented then aged for 11 months in large French oak barrels then aged a further month in stainless steel. Alcohol 14%. Generous flavors of ripe red fruit tastes young in nature. Perhaps the most forward vintage yet it drinks well from the very first glass with supporting acidity and tannins. ** Now.
2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Talia, Etna – $26
Imported by Simon N Cellars. This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from 40-50 year old vines planted on volcanic ash soil located at 2250 feet in elevation. It was aged for 8 months in old oak barrels. Alcohol 13.5%. After several hours of air the nose became very aromatic with floral and herb aromas. In the mouth were fine, red and black fruit flavors with a vein of lively acidity. The complexity and depth for aging is there but requires hours to come out. *** 2018 – 2024.
2013 Tenuta da Aglaea, Aglaea, Etna – $18
Imported by Simon N Cellars. This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from 10-30 year old vines planted on volcanic ash soil located at 2250 feet in elevation. Alcohol 13%. Brighter, more acidity, and simpler than the other bottling. *(*) Now – 2017.