2002 marked the first harvest for the Estate of Tenute delle Terre Nere.  Situated on the volcanic slopes of Sicily’s Mt. Etna, Tenute delle Terre Nere – loosely translated as: “Estate of the Black Land” in a nod to the color of the volcanic soil that nurtures the estates vines, is a project begun by renowned exporter turned winemaker, Marc de Grazia.
With just over 23 hectares under vine, De Grazia produces six unique red wines from ancient vines and forgotten varietals.  With the exception of a tiny parcel of vineyard that has just been replanted, most of the vines are between 50-100 years of age and there are additional pre-phylloxera vines that are nearly 140 years old.
The Calderara Sottana Vineyard – Covered by Volcanic Rocks
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 chic peas that are then folded into the earth.  
The six red wines produced are all borne of two indigenous Sicilian grapes:  Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio and all wines bear the Etna D.O.C. origine.  The topic of today’s post is the estates entry level rosso.
The 2011 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 not decanted, but based on the way the aromas evolved over the course of the evening, future bottles will receive extended air time.  In the glass, the wine is a light ruby or bright raspberry red color. Very similar in color to a Burgundian Pinot Noir.  The aromas are fragrant and offer berry, fennel, smoke and flowers.  On the palate, the wine is refined and elegant with flavors of cherry, black licorice, and tobacco.  Wonderful balance and freshness to the tannins.  This is beautiful wine that got better with extended air. 92 points.  A steal at $15.
What type of food to pair this with?  Take the advice of the estate’s winemaker:  “The Etna Rosso is an aristocratically liberal wine. Enjoy it with whatever food you wish, as long as it’s cooked properly!”    How can you go wrong? 
Etna Rosso: 95% Nerello Mascalese & 5% Nerello Cappuccio

More to come on this winery…..

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