Estate: Pioneering, iconic 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.”
Winemaking: A single vineyard wine, ‘Magma’ is the estate’s “Grand Vin” and only produced in the best vintages. The Barbabecchi vineyard is located at 910 meters in elevation, facing north/northeast. Planted in 1910, the old vines are ungrafted. Fermentation begins with a pied-de-cuve* with indigenous yeasts and skin contact for about 60 days. Aged in neutral epoxy tanks from 1200 liters to 2.500 liters, unfined.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour, with aromas of pine forest, balsamic, black cherry, smoky earth, golden raisin and star anise. Smoke spirals around black cherry, blackberry, pomegranate, black pepper and a suggestion of licorice. Grippy tannins and fresh acidity fuse with orange rind, raspberry, iron earth minerality and black pepper on the lengthy finish. Magnetic, complex and grand.
100% Nerello Mascalese
Terre Siciliane Rosso IGP
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Frank Cornelissen
€250 [Purchased in a restaurant in Italy]
*A small amount of grapes are collected a few days before harvest, these grapes are pressed and fermentation begins. This is then added to the main harvest grapes. This ancient winemaking technique is a sort of control or stabilization for natural yeast fermentation, preventing undesirable strains of yeast ensuring purity of aroma and flavour, without the addition of any chemicals.