Today’s Story: Le Vigne di Eli
Le Vigne di Eli is a small, family-owned winery established on the slopes of Mount Etna in 2006 by Marco de Grazia who is also behind the acclaimed Tenuta delle Terre Nere. Marco decided to establish Le Vigne di Eli after being offered two of Etna’s tiniest and most coveted vineyards (Feudo di Mezzo and Moganazzi-Voltasciara), though instead of adding them to his portfolio at Tenuta delle Terre Nere he started another winery. Marco says the two vineyards made him think of his daughter Elena (Eli), so not only did he create this winery out of his love for her but he uses her artwork on his labels and dedicates a significant portion of his profits to the Ospedale Pediatrico Meyer children’s hospital in Florence to make it truly a “child’s estate.” Over time Marco selected additional tiny vineyards to increase his offerings and the estate produces about 20,000 bottles annually across several Etna Bianco and Etna Rosso bottlings.
Today’s Wine: 2016 Etna Rosso
98% Nerello Mascalese, 2% Nerello Cappuccio; 13.5% ABV
The 2016 Etna Rosso is moderately opaque and medium garnet in color with bright ruby hues. I let this breathe in the glass for about an hour and the nose emits aromas of ripe strawberry, muddled raspberry, red cherry, red licorice, lavender, tobacco, barnyard, volcanic soil, savory Italian herbs, marine minerality, and oak. Once on the palate, the wine offers notes of strawberry, cherry, wild raspberry, red and purple florals, sweet tobacco, graphite, baking spice, crushed rock minerality, and smoke. This is light- to medium-bodied with vibrant medium (+) acidity, refined medium tannins, and a long herbaceous finish. The wine is incredibly precise and its drinking experience is completely gorgeous. 1,000 cases produced.
Price: $30. This is one of the better Etna Rosso wines I’ve had, and for this price it is a screaming value as a lot of Etna Rosso is (for now). Pair this with chicken parmigiana, tuna with tomatoes, roasted pork, or even pepperoni pizza.