All wines stored at 55° and 70% humidity
Salvo Foti's Mt. Etna Benchmark
I'm never shy about my admiration for Salvo Foti's Nerello Mascalese wines from Mt. Etna. Both his examples are benchmarks from their respective price points. June 2017's visit with Salvo on Mt. Etna really wove the whole story together for me on why these wines stand out from the pack. If there were only one red wine from Sicily to stock at my home in deep quantity, it would surely be Foti's Rosso.
The Rosso is sourced from vineyards planted at 2,300 feet on the north side of Mt. Etna. These are among the highest altitude vineyards in all of Europe. This north side of the volcano is where you'll find the most structured and deeply concentrated Nerello Mascalese. 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.
No one better captures this high-wire balance act. There's a fleshy quality countered with salinity and mouth-watering freshness that's so singular. The Rosso 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 one that's 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 totally clicks with this resemblance.
The impact Salvo Foti has had on the wines, vineyards, and producers of Etna is a tough task to complete in a few sentences. He is the Godfather of wine on this volcanic landscape. His work was for so many years tied to other top estates, serving as an oenologist and vineyard consultant. But, in 2001 he began to focus nearly exclusively on his own project, I Vigneri.
The wines of the region have seen their popularity skyrocket in the last several years. There appeared to be new projects everywhere I glanced as I drove around Etna. Foti has cemented I Vigneri as the destination for the most serious wines of all, with old vines and a track record to make his case. For the price, his Etna Rosso is the first place I turn for reds from Mt. Etna.
|Grape Variety||Nerello Mascalese|