This next-level Sicilian red should be blinding. A Grand Cru wine, with quality befitting the pricetag. But it’s not. It’s an ok drink, but it lacks the grandiosity and profundity of the hype.
To be honest, I’ve not had many of the cru wines from Tenuta Delle Terre Nere before. But I’ve loved the standard Etna Rosso (I emptied multiple bottles on a trip to Sicily in 2015). And after immersing myself in an ocean of Nerello Mascalese for this article last year, I was pumped to empty a bottle of this.
Indeed it’s hard to ignore the context – sourced from a plot of ancient, pre-phylloxera vines planted on Etna’s northern slopes. Tenuta Delle Terre Nere’s approach is more modern than many other local Etna producers, with shorter maceration times and less extraction making affable, Pinot-comparable wines of some beauty.
There’s a line of great tannins which defines this red, giving a mulchy, Mencia-esque brackish to the spicy red and blackberry fruit. Yet there’s also this earthen grubbiness which felt more like a middling Provence/Rhone red than a bejewelled Etna masterpiece.
It’s still a nice and charismatic wine, don’t get me wrong. But it also left me thinking about all the disappointments I’ve had with 1er cru red Burgundy. Of stuffing and brightness and polish that isn’t quite there.
I took the open bottle home and it then oxidised overnight on a cold evening, which is hardly a sign of ‘hold on to me, I’m going to improve’ either. Bad bottle? Always possible.
Otherwise, meh. Best drinking: now. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $180. Would I buy it (again)? I’d stick to the basic Etna Rosso.
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