Voluptuous, bold, hearty flavours of spiced fruit, dark berries and victoria plum, with a distinct stony element. Intense, no-holds-barred Etna. This is a relatively ‘low’ vineyard, by Etna’s standards at least, planted at 700 meters above sea level. The vines are old and part pre-phylloxera.
Tenuta delle Terre Nere is a young estate owned by the experienced wine affi cionado Marco de Grazia, its first commercial vintage being the 2002. Starting off with one parcel of old goblet vines in the Vigneto Guardiola, Marco has now increased his holdings to a total of fi ve parcels in the Guardiola and Calderara vineyards. There is one vine variety growing on the estate, Nerello Mascalese, which is indigenous to Sicily. Its fabulous old bush vines, the majority of which are pre-Phylloxera, are planted on the rocky and sandy volcanic soils on the north face of Mount Etna at 800 to 900 metres above sea level. A regal elegant style wine aged in 20% new French oak barriques for 18 months, that demonstrates purity and finesse of fruit reminiscent of good red Burgundy.
In the baking Sicilian sun respite is found from the heat at alitude. On the sundrenched volcanic slopes of Mount Etna heat is mitigated by elevated vineyard sites that provide refreshing air currents and positively cool nights. A relatively new region in terms of high quality production, producers such as Tenuta delle Terre Nere are proving what can be achieved with Burgundian treatment of grapes such as Nerello Mascalese. These are wines that need to be tasted to be believed offering the aromatic qualities of Pinot Noir alongside some of the backbone of Nebbiolo.