buzz italy low intervention sicily

Frank Cornelissen ‘Contadino’ Etna Rosso DOP 2016

Estate: Pioneering Belgian winemaker Frank Cornelissen is renowned for his strict adherence to extremely minimal intervention, natural winemaking methods. The 24 hectare estate is located on the north slope of Mount Etna in Sicily. The 13 hectares of old vine vineyards have an elevation range from 1900 to 3200 feet above sea level. Cornelissen’s goal for the land “is to evolve towards a self-sustainable agricultural reality based on the trilogy of Mediterranean farming (cereals, olive oil and wine) without exploiting Mother Earth, to produce whilst also returning, evolving towards equilibrium of the land, which will take time”.

Philosophy: “Our farming philosophy is based on our acceptance of the fact that man will never be able to understand nature’s full complexity and interactions. We therefore choose to concentrate on observing and learning the movements of Mother Earth in her various energetic and cosmic passages and prefer to follow her indications as to what to do, instead of deciding and imposing ourselves. Consequently this has taken us to avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be.”

Winemaking: With a vision of crafting “liquid rock”, he does not use any treatments of any type in the vineyards, nor does he add anything, including sulphur, during the winemaking process. Wines are aged in clay amphorae that are buried in the volcanic soil of the cellar. Contadino is an “entry-level” red comprised mostly of Nerello Mascalese along with other indigenous varietals, a few of which such as Minella bianco, are white varietals. Grapes for Contadino are sourced from old vines with an average age of 50 years. “Contadino expresses Etna as made in a traditional way of blending different varietals: fragrant, elegant, structured with personality.”

*Because no SO2 is added, Frank advises keeping the wine below 16 °C [61°F] during transport and storage, and not decanting it.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour. Incredibly aromatic, with intricate layers of ripe cherry, strawberry, raspberry, rose, cinnamon and crushed white peppercorn. All the cherries [red black and a touch of sour] along with wild strawberry, rose petal, soft baking spice and black pepper glide over a core of iron minerality. Fresh acidity and wonderfully wooly tannins [so wooly that my tongue was sticking to the roof of my mouth] fuse into spiced red fruits on the lengthy, dry finish. Well balanced, engaging, stunning, make sure to get one of these spectacular, super scarce bottles before they’re all gone.

85% Nerello Mascalese with “other local varietals from all our old vine vineyards: Nerello Capuccio, Allicante Boushet, Minella and Uva Francesa”
Etna Rosso DOP
Produced and Bottled by Frank Cornelissen
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2021

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