Incredible Complexity From the Northern Slopes of Mount Etna

Today’s Story: Pietradolce

Pietradolce was established in 2005 on the northern slopes of Mt. Etna in Solicchiata and consists of 11 hectares of vines situated between 600 and 900 meters above sea level. The vineyards are divided into three sections, with two in Rampante and one in Zottorinoto, but overall the soil is dominated by stones and sandy loam rich in mineral elements thanks to the volcano. Since its founding, Pietradolce chose to work only with native varieties of Mt. Etna with Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Carricante taking center stage and growing largely as traditional bushes. At the heart of Pietradolce is a philosophy of caring for the land and both the winemaking practices as well as the physical winery itself are eco-friendly.

Today’s Wine: 2014 Contrada Rampante Etna Rosso

100% Nerello Mascalese; 14.5% ABV

The 2014 Contrada Rampante is almost fully opaque deep garnet in color. This seemed to show best after 1.5 hours decanting, however it continued to evolve and add complexities throughout the 3 hours from pop to last drop. The nose showcases aromas of bing cherry, strawberry, licorice, rose and violet, leather, black volcanic earth, smoke, oregano, cinnamon, stony mineral, and oaky spice. Some slight heat surfaces as well. On the palate this beauty displays notes of black cherry, dried stemmy strawberry, crunchy black raspberry, cola, anise, tobacco, rocky yet loamy earth, earthy mineral, mocha, and allspice. This is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium (+) tannins, and a long finish characterized by lingering notes of iron.

Price: $38 (but good luck). I’ve had many Etna Rosso’s that I proclaim as exceptional values, but this wine might take the cake as the greatest one yet…if you are lucky enough to find it. The utter complexity that surfaces in this wine and its rustic beauty that could be mistaken for a great red Burgundy demands attention and respect. Pair with pasta bolognese, veal parm, or swordfish.

3 thoughts on “Incredible Complexity From the Northern Slopes of Mount Etna”

  1. I will give this one a try. Actually found it on Wine.com, but it is currently unavailable. Being 1/2 Sicilian myself, I do like Sicilian wines, so this a no-brainer. Thank you for the article and the tip.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d love to try some of the wines you’ve discussed recently on this blog so I can see how much I’d align with your recommendations. Always looking for good sources of wine suggestions! Is there somewhere that you typically buy your wines from or is it more random than that?

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    1. Hi James! I certainly have my favorite wine stores both locally in Los Angeles and throughout California, but I also order direct from wineries and have a collection that has built up over the years that I pull from. I tend to find the “rarer” bottles at more boutique stores, but I do shop some of the larger chains for a reliable selection. I know this is very broad, but my wine buying is random due to my sheer passion for exploring as much as possible!

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