Sicily's Mount Etna has more than a millenia of winemaking history under its belt, but it has really been in the past few decades that the wines have become recognized on a world scale. The native red a white varieties are unique even to the rest of Sicily, and the volcanic soils have prevented the spread of phylloxera among many of the vineyards, so the wines can claim a much more ancient character. Though a relatively new producer (in the grand scheme of Etna, anyway), Tenuta di Aglaea is a specialist in the Nerello Mascalese grape, with several of their small terraced vineyards sitting among those owned by the famous Passopisciaro winery. There are only enough of their two wines to be counted in the hundreds of cases, but thanks to the efforts of a local importer we not only have good access to the wines, but are priced incredibly well to boot.
Despite being a traditionally lighter weight and lower alcohol variety, Nerello has an intense dried red fruit and savory aroma that brings loads of presence to the glass. You can almost smell the black lava soils behind the smoky cherry and flowers, with a complex and ever-changing subtlety that makes it understandable why many reviewers will compare these wines with great Burgundy. On the palate the tannins are incredibly fine and dusty (again drawing comparison to Burgundy) but also persistent, which can also be compared to Nebbiolo in the Langhe/Piedmont. The fruit is lessened on the palate as well, allowing more savory notes and dried spice to come through. These are wines that are blowing up across the country on restaurant wine lists as the acidity and fine texture play very well with subtle fine flavors, and it will do very well at your dinner table as well when you're looking for something a little more creative.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!