• Mt. Etna Benchmark:  2019 I Vigneri Vino Rosso

    Mt. Etna Benchmark: 2019 I Vigneri Vino Rosso

    Both of Salvo Foti's Nerello Mascalese wines from Mt. Etna are benchmarks in their respective price points. June 2017's visit with Foti wove the whole story together for me on why these wines stand out from the pack. If I had to pick one Sicilian red wine to stock up on for my personal cellar, it would be Foti's Rosso.

    The Rosso is sourced from vineyards planted at 2,300 feet on the north side of Mt. Etna where you'll find the most structured and deeply concentrated Nerello Mascalese. These are among the highest altitude vineyards in all of Europe. With massive diurnal shifts, the preserved acidity here keeps sun-soaked vines capable of producing reds that are vibrant and full of freshness, despite the given ripeness.

    This particular wine sees concrete for fermentation and aging, giving this young Nerello Mascalese an approachability that makes it impossible to resist upon release. The comparison to Pinot Noir is difficult for Nerello to escape—while often I see more differences than similarities, in the hands of Foti, there's a striking harmony and sense of place that clicks with this resemblance.

    Foti's impact on the wines, vineyards, and producers of Etna is monumental. For many years, his work was tied to other top estates like Biondi and Benanti where he was an oenlogist and vineyard consultant. He began to focus nearly exclusively on his own project in 2001. The name, I Vigneri, derives from the 1435-established Maestranzi dei Vigneri, a collective of vineyard workers who influenced the foundation of these magnificent vines atop Etna.

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    Posted by Max Kogod