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Even more recent drinks

January 11, 2018 Leave a comment

I cannot seem to shake a consistently busy work schedule which eliminates any free time I have.  Hence my sporadic posting.  Of the lot of wines featured in today’s post the 2007 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac is my favorite.  I was a bit underwhelmed until several hours in when it completely transformed for the better.  Of the wines which are currently available the 2012 J. M. Rimbert, Carignator is a good value.  It is Carignan so it is a bit firm in a way but the flavors have taken on good bottle age.  The 2016  Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Tenerife does not offer up the excitement I experienced with the 2015 vintage.  The profile is still there but this vintage is not as expressive.  I will try another bottle in case there is bottle shock.  Finally, I was underwhelmed by the 2016 Domaine A. Clape, Le Vin des Amis.  A strange evergreen incense marked the wine for days.  Coupled with bitter black fruit it did not become enjoyable until several days in.  I will broach my second bottle several years down the road.

2006 Domaine du Clos des Fees, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Roussillon Villages
Imported by Simon n’ Cellars.  This is a gravelly wine with maturing blue fruit, watering acidity then flavors of garrigue and strawberry liquor candied near the finish.  it develops a spiced berry cote becoming drier towards the end where the strength of the wine shows.  It wraps up dry.  *** Now – 2023.

2007 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 34% Grenache, 33% Syrah, and 33% Mourvedre. Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a maturing core of fruit but there is still plenty of spicy structure surrounding it.  The wine is thick with black fruit and a bit of bitterness towards the end.  After 2-3 hours in the decanter it rounds out and the components come into balance quite well.  There are racy blue flavors, watering acidity, wood box, baking spices, and a luxurious marshmallow body.  **** Now – 2028.

2012 J. M. Rimbert, Carignator – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This is 100% Carignan largely sourced from 70+ year old vines.  It was aged for six months in old neutral barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  A medium opaque, bricking cherry color.  This is a dry, textured wine that is maturing in the bottle.  There are wood notes, a little balsam, and textured tannins left on the gums.  **(*) Now – 2023.

2015 Tenuta Delle Terre Nere, Etna Rosso – $17
Imported by deGrazia Imports. Alcohol 13.5%.  There are lifted aromas of tar.  In the mouth are somewhat black and red fruit, mineral on the sides of the tongue, and minimal fine tannins which give it some grip.  The wine tasted polished, focused, and modern.  With it it becomes more mineral, which is attractive, and takes on a touch of cocoa.  Solid but not moving.  **(*) 2018-2020.

2016  Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Ycoden-Daute-Isora, Tenerife – $22
A Jose Pastor Selections imported by Llaurador Wines.  This is a blend of high-altitude 70-120 year-old Listan Prieto with some Tintilla that was foot trodden, fermented in concrete and tubs with indigenous yeasts then aged 8 months in neutral oak barrels.  Alcohol 12%.  This is a high-toned, bright wine which mixes white pepper and potpourri incense right from the start.  The focused red fruit matched the polished wood note.  There is a very gentle ripeness. **(*) Now – 2021.

2016 Domaine A. Clape, Le Vin des Amis – $32
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a mix of Syrah from near the Rhone and young Cornas.  It was aged for six months in cement and 6 months in foudres. This is a completely opaque, grapey purple color.  Followed over many nights the nose is incensed with primarily evergreen aromas and floral notes.  For the first few days there is a similarly incensed, evergreen flavor to this wine.  It is bitter with very fine structure through the firm, polished, bitter black finish.  The evergreen aspect eventually reduces with the wine showing focused, floral black fruit in the finish.  ** 2021-2026.

A Bottle of White, A Bottle of Red

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2014 Arianna Occhipinti, Sicilia SP68 Bianco
I absolutely love this wine.  I found myself initially thinking I was up in the Alto Adige with some lively Kerner in my glass.  Outrageously floral.  The white twin to the red Ruché aromatically.  The wine tricks the palate – don’t be fooled by the ripe notes of peach and apricot, as the wine is dry.  The wine could use a touch more acidity but on balance this is a beautiful warm weather white.  I would not age the wine. DB.

2014 Arianna Occhipinti, Sicilia SP68 Nero d’Avola e Frappato
A little rustic at the beginning.  Red fruits – cherry and wild strawberries.  Then earth and some funk.  But in a good way.  This blend works well.  Medium length in the mouth.  The last sip reminded me of a very young Northern Rhone Syrah with the flash of violets on the palate.  Finished long. DB.

Casual notes on four Sicilian red wines

February 2, 2016 Leave a comment

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

An affordable pair of Etna Rosso to age for the short term

In these temporarily leaner times there are many wines from Etna that exceed my price range.  The pair featured in today’s post are priced at what I regard as the beginning range for this region.  Though both are from the 2013 vintage and are mostly expressions of Nerello Mascalese, they showed completely different in flavor and evolution.  On the first night the 2013 Planeta, Etna Rosso was my wine of choice.  It was the more forward of the two with darker red fruit and a romantically volcanic, mineral finish.  The 2013 Tenuta di Fessina, Erse, Etna Rosso, by contrast, was tight, higher-toned, and more acidic.  You can imagine my surprise when first smelling the Erse on the second night to come across pure aromas of Juicy Fruit gum.  That is perhaps not the best description but what matters is that the wine displayed its own unique profile.  I recommend you try this wine but first give it hours upon hours of air or better yet, cellar it for the short term.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Planeta, Etna Rosso – $24
Imported by Palm Bay.  This wine is 100% Nerello Mascalese sourced from vines at 600-800 meters in elevaiton.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for six months in used oak barriques.  Alcohol  13%. The nose had tight aromas of darker berries.  In the mouth were firm red fruit flavors that did not expand until the acidity came out in the finish.  With air the red fruit became darker with a subdued structure of fine and dry tannins.  The finish brought firm cherry flavors and a black, mineral finish.  **(*) 2016-2022.

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2013 Tenuta di Fessina, Erse, Etna Rosso – $23
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello
Cappuccio sourced from vines at 670 meters of elevation that was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light, grapey cherry.  On the second night the nose revealed attractive aromas of juicy fruit gum.  There were similar fruit flavors in the mouth.  The wine was not quite light bodied and existed from the very beginning around an integrated structure.  The tannins with a touch ripe, texture, an drying in the aftertaste.  The pretty, berrylicious flavors were matched by juicy acidity.  The wine picked up some weight towards the finish which emphasized the good fruit.  *** 2016-2020.

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A few drinks from our International Gold Cup weekend.

October 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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Our weekend was dedicated to the International Gold Cup steeplechase held in Virginia.  Between hanging out at home with an old friend and drinking wine at the Gold Cup we went through a variety of wines.  It was a gorgeous, warm and sunny day at the races so I spent my time chatting and tasting.  Which meant I did not take any pictures.  So I have no clue, for example, of what the tasty Barbera d’Alba was we had during the day.  There was an elegant and crisp 2012 Failla, Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast.  Between the 2013 Justin, Sauvignon Blanc, Central Coast and the 2012 Justin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, I preferred the later for being an unapologetically forward Californian wine.  The 2011 Chateau Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estephe was an herbaceous, Merlot dominant wine that, like the Justin, disappeared before I could taste it again.   The most interesting bottles that I did save include the  2010 Castell d’Encus, Quest, Costers del Segre which is a Bordeaux blend sourced from high-altitude fruit in Spain.  The particular cool factor is that the fruit is fermented in 12th century stone vats located in a mountainside.  The resultant wine had herbaceous, brighter fruit with outstanding crunchy acidity.  The 2007 Mas de Boislauzon, Chateauneuf du Pape and 2007 Mas de Boislauzon, Tintot Special Cuvee, Chateauneuf du Pape were a fun pair.  The former is a Grenache dominated blend that showed secondary flavor complexity, good wood notes, herbs, all at a presently drinkable 13.5% alcohol.  The Special Cuvee is purely Mourvedre.  It possessed even less alcohol but packed more of a flavor punch of earthy fruit.  I think this cuvee might be aged a bit more.  The 2011 Crasto, Superior, Douro showed more polish from oak aging but came across as muted compared to the regular Douoro bottling that is both floral and flavorful.  Finally, the 2008 Alice Bonaccorsi, Val Cerasa, Etna Rosso did not appear to have too many fans.  This is primarily Nerello Mascalese with some Nerello Cappuccio in it.  I rather liked its earthy take and reasonable price so I will follow up on this wine by drinking another bottle at a later date.

 

A young wine from Etna with a good future

October 15, 2014 Leave a comment

There is quite a range of both white and red wines from Etna available at MacArthur Beverages.  There is something of a premium on price for these wines so I make sure to always try what falls below $25 per bottle.  Today’s post features the 2012 I Custodi, Pistus, Etna Rosso produced by Il Custodi delle vigne dell’Etna.   I recommend you take a look at the website for a good introduction to and images of the vineyards.  You might recall the label for this is the younger brother of the 2007 I Custodi, Aetneus, Etna Rosso that I reviewed in my post Tasting Austrian and Italian Wines With Lou .   There are two key differences between these wines.  The first is that the Pistus is made using fruit from 10 year old vines whereas the Aetneus comes from vines up to 150 years of age.  Second, the Pistus is raised entirely in concrete vat whereas the Aetneus is fermented in stainless steel then aged for some time in barriques.   I think the Pistus is spot on.  It is literally young so while it could stand from short-term aging, it does offer up interesting floral aromatics and the mineral, blacker fruit I like in a wine from Etna.  I recommend you try it!  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 I Custodi, Pistus, Etna Rosso – $22
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio sourced from ten year old vines on sandy, volcanic soils.  The fruit was whole-cluster crushed, fermented, and aged for nine months in concrete vats.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was less herbaceous than it was evocative of orchids in a greenhouse.  The wine took on weight to its ripe blue fruit that had minerally, black undertones.  The sense of firmness was balanced by acidity.  With air the notes of dried herbs took on vintage books in the dusty finish.  Everything wrapped up with salivating acidity.  **(*) 2015-2019.

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Cellar Worthy Vintages of Etna Rosso from Massimiliano Calabretta

The wines of Massimiliano Calabretta are lovely examples of traditional Etna wines.  They easily combine  lightness of flavor with minerality in a wine that has both strength and stamina for development.  The prices are also traditional to bygone years!  I thought it cool that at MacArthur Beverages the follow-on to the the 2002 Calabretta, Etna Rosso is the 2001 Calabretta, Etna Rosso.  Having not tried these two vintages side-by-side I can only remark on my impression that the 2001 vintage appears to have more power for the long-haul.  I would personally keep it in the cellar instead of drinking it.  The 2011 Calabretta, Gaio Gaio is made from young vines but has good flavor.  Like its serious elder, this vintage will develop as well.   If you are at all curious about traditional, Italian wines then you must try this pair.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Calabretta, Gaio Gaio – $17
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. This wine is Nerello Mascalese which saw some time in Slovenian oak casks. Alcohol.  There was brighter red fruit then black fruit which surrounded a tight core of ripe fruit.  The good flavor was structured by ripe tannins.  The mineral nature expanded with air.  Needs some cellar time.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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2001 Calabretta, Etna Rosso – $28
Imported by Williams Corner Wine. This wine is Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio sourced from 60-80 year old vines in Calderara. Alcohol.    There was a good nose with perhaps a hint of tar.  It started with minerals, light red fruit then a dry, tart middle.  There was a  core of ripeness with black fruit in the finish.  The wine has both strength and depth.  With air it took on notes of polished wood, an earthy finish, and an expansive, coating aftertaste that coated the gums.  This clearly has the power to age for a long time.  ***(*) Now-2025.

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