Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In the Shadow of Mount Etna



~ Tenuta Delle Terre Nere ~

"A great team, a delicate hand and a heightened sensibility.  This and our ideals, that drive us to give the best of ourselves in a quest, not for perfection, but of the ideal bond between what nature gives us and that which our sensitivity, experience and imagination suggests."   ....Marco De Grazia 
 
 
Organic. Sustainable. Solar powered.  There is likely as much effort and respect put toward the environment at Tenuta Delle Terre Nera as there is for their winemaking.  And at every turn, with every ounce of spent energy, the results show.
 
Founded in 2002 by importer turned vintner Marco De Grazia,  Tenuta Delle Terre Nere - which loosely transalates as "Estate of the Black Land" - in direct homage to the tint of the soil provided by Mount Etna,   produces some of the most compelling wines from the Etna Rosso DOC. 
 
The vineyards lie at various elevations, near the tiny town of Randazzo. In some of the vineyards, the volcanic rocks are so pervasive that they obscure the fertile soil beneath from view. Treatment of the vines and vineyards has been completely organic from the beginning, but was certified as such from 2010. Only organic fertilizer is used and sustainability is enhanced further by the employment of "green manure" techniques including the planting of cover crops suchs as legumes, lentils and chick peas that are then folded into the earth. 

~ Here you can see rows of beans and herbs planted between the vine rows; all part of the estates use of "green fertilization" ~
 
Almost a year ago, we reported on the 2011 version of today's wine and the 2012 is a worthy successor.  
 
The 2012 Tenute delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso, is produced from 95% Nerello Mascalese and 5% Nerello Cappuccio grapes from vines aged 6-50 years old. The wine was decanted for about 45 minutes prior to dinner - a fact that clearly helped the aromatics of the wine evolve. 
 
In the glass, the wine is a medium ruby red color. Very similar in color to a Burgundian Pinot Noir - it's a color that belies the concentration of flavors in the wine.  Aromas are fragrant and offer crushed berry, fresh fennel, and ash. On the palate, the wine is reserved and stately with elegant flavors of smoked cherries,  fresh herb like fennel, and sweet tobacco. Wonderful balance and freshness from the acidity and light to moderate tannins make this enjoyable right now.   91 points.  Great value at $15. 


~ Etna Rosso from indigenous Sicilian Grapes ~ 
 
Tenuta delle Terre Nere makes a wine from vines that pre-date Phylloxera and are over 130 years old.  They sit on a small parcel of land within a larger vineyard are vinified separately.  I am very curious to try this wine and will report when I find some.   

~ Check the height and diameter of this old Pre-Phylloxera Vine ~ 
Stay tuned!







4 comments:

  1. Great to focus on an Etna Rosso.

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  2. Thanks TW. With vines 50-100 years old, it's hard to label a wine area "up and coming" but the wines from Sicily and even Sardinia are getting better and better and this is one example. I hope to have more to discuss about this estate and it's wines in the future. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  3. Love the panorama picture with the flowers in the forefront! Nice write-up to. I haven't seen this in NH, but when I do. . .

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  4. Dennis,

    Marco De Grazia is the importer and his wines are typically widely available. Check out their website for the distributor in your state. I think you should be able to find these fairly easily.

    J

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