01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Etna Wines

HM Govt Health Warning - I know this thread is similar to an existing thread, but I’m keen to garner any opinions & experiences since that one [which was 2018, so a while ago now].

Background to this is 1) my on-going quest to find a decent age-worthy and meaningful-to-us red wine/s to mark four particular life anniversaries [2006; 2012; 2013; 2015] over - hopefully! - the next 10-20-30 years; and 2) re the “meaningful-to-us” criterion, I used to do a lot of work in Sicily in the 00s, often around Catania and sometimes up and around Etna herself; usually it would be for blocks of 2-3-4 weeks, with a lot of travelling around by bus / train, and working & staying in all kinds of out-of-the-way places. While doing this over 10+ years, I bought / was given - Sicilian life can be very generous - many many different Etna wines, some of which were - for me and [usually!] us - breathtaking.

However, I knew very little about wine back then really, beyond that I enjoyed drinking “nice wine”; and also, being the eejut I was back then, I would never really make any note of what I drank. But Etna wines continue to have a lot of emotion for us, up there for us with our Taurasi thing [the other area I’m slowly stocking up a bit from when I can find good deals]; and when they’re good, they are truly very very good.

I’ve searched this forum several times, and it seems the Terrazze dell Etna, Cirneco has hit some folks’ sweet spots, and ditto the Etna Rosso ‘Ciauria’, Pietro Caciorgna. I think from memory there was a review or two of I Vigneri di Salvo Foti Etna Vinupetra too, and certainly a few for the M&S etc versions of Etna Rossos. The wines from Frank Cornelissen get several mentions too, but sound probably a bit too “natural” for us.

Prices here have rather skyrocketed since the 00s, and the B-word makes ordering from Italy etc potentially troublesome, so buying-to-try on the back of cellartracker / vivino etc is rather expensive guesswork! For instance, Palari Faro Palari comes with what seems an amazing reputation, but is quite some price via expensive import.

There also seem to be a lot of “boutique” wineries about the Etna scene nowadays too, usually with prices to match, and I find myself never quite sure what might be “behind the image” etc. Two examples of this [for me] are the Gaja Idda wines and the I Custodi wines. Santa Maria La Nave Etna Calmarossa is another - it has some excellent reviews and sounds perfect for what I’m looking for, but again, is a lot of money if there’s not much beyond the hype etc.

So - given the wealth of knowledge and experience on this forum, I’m interested to hear of any thoughts around particular Etna Rossos that have left their particular mark on folk. No particular price cut-off, and ideally something that can potentially go 20+ years. Could be a vertical, but doesn’t need to be.

Apologies for a[nother!] long-winded post! And thank you for any thoughts forthcoming :~}

5 Likes

I meandered into Etna Rosso, in an attempt to find something in the Nebbiolo/Pinot sphere, but without the price-tag, probably 6 or 7 years ago.

But, as you’ve probably also discovered, this was wishful thinking on my part - which partly explains my further and broader divergence into Xinomavro and my acceptance of more reduced circumstances (from a wine-budget point of view) owing to the steep upward curve in Piedmont prices, so I haven’t got a great deal of wisdom to pass on, save to say that I have a few Tenuta de la Terre Nere - they are generally very ageworthy, but IMHO area bit of a mixed bag. Some very good, some just ok. They do a broad range of ‘Premier Cru’ and ‘Grand Cru’ terroir wines, but I have no idea how well these self-certified vineyards actually represent what they say they do.

I’ve had wines from several other producers, but must admit that my enjoyment seems to have been almost exclusively grounded in the ‘value’ end rather than premium, which I’m afraid have been rather hit-and-miss.

On a slightly more upbeat note, though your wallet may not thank me, but 3 of those years are excellent in Piedmont and one merely very good. JSL :smiley:

4 Likes

I’m also on an early part of my adventure in Sicilian wines so this is a suggestion entirely pilfered from @willrcwyatt, the most age worthy (and oldest) wines from Sicilia I’ve had have been IGT Nero D’Avoli/as (argh I hate trying to pluralise Italian names when writing in english!) from Gulfi. While they’re clearly not the elegant Nerello Mascalese/.Capuccino based wines of Etna, they’re bloody good.

Unfortunately as you point out there’s a lot of hype and boutique-y wines, and lots of investment from wine makers from elsewhere, which means the prices are skyrocketing. At the non age worthy (I assume!), but very drinkable end of the spectrum M&S currently have a varietal Nerello Capuccino in their Found range for £7 a bottle.

2 Likes

This was very good indeed for £18.50. Great value in comparison with Piedmont, will be on the lookout for future vintages.

3 Likes

Not built for long ageing as @crocos is looking for, but this was very tasty too:

3 Likes