Benanti Rosso di Verzella Etna Rosso 2008

I love Etna Rosso wines. Complex and powerful, laden with spice, volcanic earthiness and cheerful, bright fruit, they are engaging and approachable. The Benanti estate was founded in the late 1800’s by Giuseppe Benanti and is located on the slopes of the north side of Mount Etna. Today grandson Giuseppe Benanti is devoted to the viticulture and is passionate about reviving indigenous varieties along with employing environmentally friendly practices and modern vinification methods. The average age of the Nerello Mascalese vines is 40 years.

Dark garnet in colour with aromas of funky brie and dense raisin, plum and tart cranberry flavours merged into a moderate finish of warm oak and baking spices. Due to the brie aroma and thin, clipped flavours, I believe this bottled was corked. And yes, even though I purchased it nearly a year ago I should have returned it to the shop, but I bravely soldiered on leaving only a slight amount left in the bottle.

80% Nerello Mascalese, 20% Nerello Cappuccio
Sicily
Italy
Bottled by Az. Vinicola Benanti s.r.l.
13.5% Alcohol
$22
Enjoy now thru 2015

Murgo Etna Rosso 2009


It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had an Etna Rosso. Known for their elegance, complexity and smoky, earthy flavours, they can be quite challenging to locate in many wine shops. My local shops typically have only 1 or 2 labels on the shelf, and these tend to be right around the $50 mark. Imagine my surprise when I saw the Murgo Etna Rosso 2009 in a wine shop that I only stop in at occasionally, for under $20!

Founded in 1981, the estate is headed by Barone Emanuele Scammacca del Murgo and located on the steep slopes of Mount Etna. Along with his sons, Barone del Murgo has been modernizing the winery and vineyards in order to constantly improve upon the quality of the wines, yet keeping the wine as an expression of the specific volcanic soils and traditions of Etna. Their Etna Rosso was first produced in 1982 and continues to be the estate’s most prominent product.

Transparent, light brick-garnet with ruby highlights in colour, after decanting for about an hour aromas of dusty violets, baked cherries and hints of balsamic swirled about in the glass. Red current and cherry pie flavours were supported by subtle earthy tobacco and leather notes in the light-medium body. Drying yet lively tannins introduced the abbreviated finish of dusty rose petals and traces of earthy, spicy cloves. Light and clean with earthy details, this is a lovely glass for the table.

85% Nerello Mascalese, 15% Nerello Mantellato
Sicily
Italy
Bottled by AZ.AGR. Emanuele Scammacca s.s.A.
13% Alcohol
$18
Enjoy now thru 2015