A very honest and uncompromising etna rosso

The owner of this estate is the Australian vintner Anna Martens with a long career in wine making who among others have been working at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia and previously with Andrea Franchetti at Passopisciaro for three years and then started her own business in 2008 with her husband. They focus on very little intervention in the wine making and ecological farming. This wine is from 80-year-old vines (alberello trained) on the nothern side of Etna. Grape varieties are nerello mascarello (90 %) and 10 % nerello cappuccio. Whole clusters were put into closed fermentors for six weeks without any intervention until tannins have been miraculously extracted. Very surprisingly, they don’t seem to be pressing the grapes during this time and conduct no customary punch downs or pumping over after pressing either.  Grapes are gently pressed using super low sulphur levels (almost none) and raising the grape juice in small neutral vats. A very interesting producer in deed and one with focus on true terroir and whose ambition we really fancy.

2014 vino rosso, Vino di Anna

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A very simple label on their etna rosso with alberello bushes on a steep hill

Colour is luminous, but not opaque; rather blurry (obviously not filtered or fined) with bright red orange and slightly brownish core with cerise somewhat bluish outer part and pink edges.

A very subtle and reticent, but complex nose currently dominated by vibrating, smokey minerals, dusty gravel, under vegetation, some dried herbs and oil paint. After several hours, a deep and vey careful scent of dried rose petals and complex blue flowers slips through. A very small and holding back nose now, but very personal and obviously hiding something special.

On the palate it is very closed, introvert and currently not a charmer, but impressively dense and concentrated. Less straw berries in this etna rosso where fruit is more black with prominent blackberries, dark cherries and unexpected notes of black currant. In addition, smokey, dusty minerals, savoury aromas now and under vegetation. Less sweet and alcohol is pleasingly low at 13.5 %. Acidity is clean and vivid adding lots of energy. It is quite persistent too and focused. All framed in soft, very thick, chewy and marking tannins that are ripe, but of course young. This long-cycled vintage of 2014 is all classic and I am surprised they release them this early.

A very honest, but currently a very analytic wine that will need a lot of time to settle and come around. There is a resemblance to a very young and classic barolo from Mascarello in terms of aromas, but different style. A very interesting and uncompromising wine focused on terroir that will be interesting to follow and one that is hard to score fairly at this point, but there is obvious potential in this great vintage. A guess is to wait until 2020 or later.

93-94p/100

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