The volcanic soils and unique climate of Mt Etna (so different to the rest of Sicily), combined with old vineyards of local grape varieties (mostly Nerello Mascalese), produce wines pale of colour though with tremendous perfume and finesse, drawing the oft-repeated comparisons with Burgundy. Wines from both regions share a seamless complexity and magical combination of site, climate and variety. Where they differ is in the freshness of the tannins - Burgundy is often silky or spicy, while there is more structure and tension in the wines of Mt Etna.
In May we hosted the wonderfully erudite and deeply philosophical Marco for a very special dinner featuring 10 wines from Terre Nere, and were once again floored by the incredible combination of delicacy and power. Marzio, chef at neighbouring Osteria Antica Bologna, prepared a stunning meal of traditional Sicilian dishes, including seafood risotto, braised rabbit in peppers and vinegar, and slow cooked lamb neck to match the greatest range of Terre Nere wines imaginable.
The two whites express intensely refreshing minerality, while the Cru reds can be split into two distinct styles. The Feudo di Mezzo and Santo Spirito are charming, perfumed and full of feminine grace, while the Calderara Sottana and Guardiola are more powerful and more delicate respectively, but both harness the tannic power of rocky volcanic soils and high altitude to present a masculine front. A Nebbiolo-like tension and freshness of tannin makes these wines incredibly exciting to drink. The yet-to-be-released 2014 Pre-phylloxera is hands down the greatest Mt Etna wine I've ever tasted, and Marco thinks its the best he's ever made.
Our 2015 allocation has now arrived so check out the entire range. Great wines for drinking, giving or for the cellar.