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The winery tells

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar - Reviews by Ian d'Agata

Tenuta delle Terre Nere
Ian D'Agata


2012 Etna Bianco Sicilia ($21) (a blend of carricante and other local grapes): Golden straw-yellow.
Complex, aromatic nose combines lemon, hazelnut, almond and vanilla. Rich, chewy and broad but with
strong acidity and a saline quality giving shape to the smooth middle palate. Finishes with lovely length and
lift. Denser and more tactile than the Vigne di Eli (also owned by Marc de Grazia) bottling, and just as good. 91

2011 Etna Bianco Cuvee Delle Vigne Niche Sicilia ($36) (100% carricante): Gold-tinged yellow.
Penetrating aromas of peach, mustard seed and minerals. Then sweet and soft on the palate, with stone
fruit and floral flavors lingering. This vintage of Vigne Niche appears to offer more early accessibility than
potential staying power. 90


2012 Etna Rosso Terre Nere Sicilia ($21) (a blend of 95% nerello mascalese and 5% nerello cappuccio):
Good bright red. Wild nose shows red cherry, quinine, aromatic herbs and balsamic vinegar. Big, rich and
backward, with a distinctly medicinal quality to the balsamic red fruit flavors. Finishes with major mouthclenching
tannins that will need at least three years in bottle to smooth out. A much more tannic, massive
Etna Rosso than usual from this estate. 89?

2011 Calderara Sottana Etna Rosso ($45) (14.5% alcohol): Bright red. Pungent red berry, flint and
floral aromas on the perfumed nose. Then much sweeter and richer on the palate, with smooth red cherry
and spice (cardamom, cinnamon, white pepper) flavors. Full and long, with a strong mineral quality. 90

2011 Etna Rosso Santo Spirito ($45) Bright red. Captivating aromas of red cherry, graphite, aromatic
herbs and violet. Then rich, dense and suave in the mouth, offering ripe red cherry and red berry flavors and
extremely silky tannins. The bright acidity gives this wine a refined, almost austere quality. Finishes very
long and dry, but not drying. An absolute knockout of a wine, and the best Santo Spirito ever. Made from a
higher-altitude vineyard that usually delivers very fine, silky tannins, this wine is a major success in 2011, a
year in which higher vineyards were generally penalized by rainfall. If you know Barolo well--for example
the wines of Monforte--then think of Etna's Guardiola like Ginestra (more fleshy and tannic), while Santo
Spirito is more like Bussia (powerful but graceful). 93(+?)

2011 Etna Rosso Feudo Di Mezzo Il Quadro Delle Rose Sicilia ($45) (a blend of 98% nerello mascalese
and 2% nerello cappuccio; 14.5% alcohol): Moderately saturated ruby-red. Aromas of blackberry, licorice,
tar and licorice, lifted by a floral nuance. Supple and silky on entry, then turns increasingly tough and tannic
in the middle, with reticent darker fruit flavors firmed on the end by iron and mineral nuances. This complex
wine finishes with good breadth but will need at least a couple years to unwind. I find the tannins in most
2011 Etna reds to be tough and slightly bitter, and it's telling that even Terre Nere, which usually makes
beautifully perfumed, silky wines, had trouble achieving this result in the vintage. 90(+?)

2011 Etna Rosso Guardiola Terre Nere Sicilia ($45) Good full, deep red. Captivating, nuanced nose
offers red cherry, redcurrant, brown spices, roast coffee, rose petal and licorice. Sweet and subtle on the
palate, with a wonderful aromatic character over a firm, smoothly tannic spine. The long finish shows a
lightly balsamic quality and hints of dried herbs and flinty spices. This is bigger, richer and deeper than
Santo Spirito, but needs time in the cellar thanks to high but harmonious acidity. 92(+?)

2011 La Vigna Di Don Peppino Prephylloxera Etna Rosso Sicilia ($96) Medium saturated ruby-red.
Highly complex nose offers pungent blackberry, red cherry, mocha, rose petal and violet aromas. Suave and
silky on entry, then fine-grained, concentrated and fruit-driven, with very good mineral lift to the bright,
sweet red cherry and berry flavors. Offers compelling density and sweetness, and finishes with highly
polished tannins. The pungent floral nose is very reminiscent of Calderara Sottana, and it couldn't really be
otherwise since this set of pre-phylloxera, century-old vines is located within the larger Calderara Sottana
vineyard. But this particular plot of vines always gives a deeper, richer wine than that bottling. 93(+?)

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Stephen Tanzer