Refreshing Etna Bianco With a True Sense of Place

Today’s Story: Tenuta delle Terre Nere

Tenuta delle Terre Nere is a somewhat young but highly regarded winery and estate founded by Marc de Grazia on the northern slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Tenuta delle Terre Nere produced its first commercial vintage in 2002, and the estate focuses on local Sicilian varieties with Nerello Mascalese and Carricante of principal importance. The estate today consists of about 55 hectares, of which 27 hectares are planted to vines in production and 7 hectares are breeding. The holdings are broken up into 24 parcels across six crus and range in elevation from 600 to 1,000 meters above sea level, with an ultimate plan to reach 38 hectares planted to vine. Aside from the 7 hectares recently planted, Terre Nere works with vines aged 50 to 100 years old, and the estate even has one parcel that survived phylloxera and is 130-140 years old! Marc de Grazia has long been a proponent of single cru Etna wines, so he vinifies, ages, bottles, and labels each of his crus individually. These include Calderara Sottana, San Lorenzo, Bocca d’Orzo, Santo Spirito, Guardiola, and Feudo di Mezzo. All viticulture has been organic since Terre Nere was established (certified in 2010), and the prior owners farmed their vineyards organically for the previous two generations as well. Winemaking is meant to be minimally invasive, allowing de Grazia to showcase the unique Etna terroir in all of his wines.

To learn more, view images of the estate and vineyards, or explore the range of wines from Tenuta delle Terre Nere, I recommend visiting their website here.

Today’s Wine: 2019 Etna Bianco

60% Carricante, 25% Catarratto, 10% Grecanico, 5% Minnella; 12.5% ABV

The 2019 Etna Bianco is pale yellow in color and transparent. Aroma intensity on the nose is rather light, and this took some effort to pull out notes of crisp underripe pear, meyer lemon, white peach, white florals, dried herbs, mild cheese, and volcanic minerality. Meanwhile the palate offers medium intensity, showcasing notes of crisp yellow apple, lemon curd, white grapefruit, lime zest, underripe pineapple, honeysuckle, and saline. This dry white is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Very crisp and refreshing, and it seems like it’d be a good pairing for oysters.

Price: $25. I would like to see some more intensity out of this wine, though perhaps it will evolve in the bottle over the next few years. Nonetheless, this is a good Carricante-dominant wine showcasing its sense of place well for the price.

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