Terre Nere Etna Rosso DOC 2022, Sicily, Italy

The soil at Terre Nere is mostly volcanic ash speckled by black pumice and peppered with abundant volcanic rock; to call it ‘rocky’ is putting it mildly! The weather variations in the area are profound and generally characterized by exposure, altitude, and ‘airiness,’ defined here as the character of a well-exposed vineyard not protected by hills, and therefore open to the cooling and drying effects of the wind. This is particularly important at Terre Nere because the harvest usually takes place in the last weeks of October, meaning that the grapes are in their most fragile state when the weather ‘breaks’ its autumn pattern, making them susceptible to oidium and mildew. The ‘airiness’ of the climate, however, helps to dry out the grapes after rain and moisture threaten mold. Production is simple, classic, and Burgundian in style: the grapes are grown organically, using only bordelaise mixture and organic fertilization – mostly dung. Vinification follows the same lead: maceration-fermentation lasts 10-15 days, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in oak – 25% new – and bottling around 18 months later. This wine is one of the most consistent and affordable reds coming out of Italy. 95% Nerello mascalese, 5% Nerello cappuccio. Northern slope of Mount Etna, from 600 up to 900 meters above sea level. 5 to 50-year-old vines. Temperature controlled fermentation (25-28 degrees C) with spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Aged in large French oak barrels (10-30 hl) for 16 months of wood aging, plus one month in steel. Bottled unfiltered.