Browse Tag


Nere a doubt

Terre Nere 2010 Etna Rosso (Sicily) – Surprisingly lavish, like a fine-grained cloud of minerality and dried morels, but much more forward and overtly floral than I’d expected, with structure but even more non-structural appeal. I don’t think a little age is going to hurt, but if it’s this consistently appealing in its youth, this vintage is going to be hard to hold on to. (2/12)

Nere, a word

Terre Nere 2006 Etna Rosso (Sicily) – Without tasting blind, it’s impossible to know how actual the loquaciously ashen foundation of this wine is suggested by identity rather than taste. But taste it is…textural layers and swirls of ash-cloud minerality, rich…almost luxuriant…dark fruit, with a certain polish and sheen, but not too much of either. Incredibly lovely right now, albeit Euro-masculine, with an unquestioned future. Not for the delicate of palate, though. (5/11)

Nere a word

Terre Nere 2009 Etna Rosso (Sicily) – Heavy and inertial. Trying to get into the core of this wine is like trying to roll a flat-surfaced rock downhill…there’s stuttering progress, but mostly there’s a lot of motionlessness. Volcanic, yes (as ever, I wonder about the power of suggestion here, as the wine was not consumed blind), with sludgy black fruit struggling beneath a thick barrier of black noise. There are many positive things one could say about individual aspects of the wine, but the whole is on the other side of event horizon. Age? I should hope so, because if not, only those whose nightly diet is of stegosaurus and woolly mammoth cooked over open bonfires on the end of wooden spears will have much use for this. (1/11)

Etna, I’m glad I met ya

Benanti 1999 Etna Rosso Rovitello (Sicily) – Prominent tannin is just starting to integrate, but this is still a stridently-structured wine in the forepalate, with a good measure of the wine’s signature ash not exactly bringing the softness. A silky fireplace wine of red fruit in an old oak drawing room, warming and delicious, with fine presence and a texture that grows more appealing as the wine aerates. Though there is a limit: at the end of a few hours’ sipping, the “closed for business” shingle is once more hung on the nail, and the wine’s qualities retreat behind a forbidding pressure door of tannin once again. This could use a longer nap. (9/08)

TN: I’m glad I met ya’

Torrepalino 1995 Etna Rosso Solicchiata (Sicily) – Soft, ash-drenched red fruit. Mostly, but not entirely, dead, with spiky acidity poking through the well-worn holes. I find a certain decrepit charm, our group’s one avowed necrophiliac likes it, and most of the rest of the room pronounces it undrinkable. But the terroir does most definitely show. A few years ago, this might have been really interesting. But what the hell…it was only $2. (2/07)