Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Overall the wines were all typical of the grapes and zone, expressing attractive red fruit and spicy flavors. Where they differed was in terms of concentration and complexity. Of the two wines from 2008, the group was fairly evenly split in terms of preference. While the bottle from Tenuta delle Terre Nere was a bit more complex than the one from Firriato, it also had a firmer tannic grip to it, and some preferred the easy-drinking quality of the Firriato. The favorites of the evening were also pretty evenly divided between the third and the fifth wine. The third, called Le Vigne di Eli, reminded me of what a dry Port would taste like. It was very rich and full-bodied, with lots of dried-fruit flavors and spice. Everyone remarked on the label, saying that it looked like a child's drawing. The wine in fact is owned by Tenuta delle Terre Nere owner Marco de Grazia and is named after is daughter, Elena (Eli). The colorful label is in fact penned by 2 year-old Eli, who each year will draw a new one. As her drawings become more mature and complex, I imagine so will the wine. The fifth wine, while lacking a child's drawing to grace the label, has a good story nonetheless. From the Biondi winery, it is named Outis, with the word nessuno (nobody) in parenthesis. The word Outis is often used as a pseudonym by artists and writers to hide their identity (thanks Wikipedia!) With such a lovely wine full of red fruit, chocolate, and leather, I can't imagine why any wine maker would want to remain anonymous. The fourth wine was the selection from Firriato, Cavanera. It was just edged out by the third and fifth bottles, but had pleasant red fruit and distinct yet smooth tannins.
Everyone was pleased with the overall quality of the wines, and were quite happy to have discovered a previously unknown wine zone. The next time you reach for a Nero d'Avola, consider an Etna Rosso. Chances are you'll love it!
1. Etna Rosso 2008 Tenuta delle Terre Nere
2. Etna Rosso 2008 Firriato
3. Etna Rosso Fuedo di Mezzo 2007 Le Vigne di Eli
4. Etna Rosso Cavanera 2007 Firriato
5. Etna Rosso Outis (Nessuno) 2005 Biondi