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Sicily tasting notes

text and photographs © 2014 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Sicily and its wines.

CATANIA/ETNA

See all stockists of Etna wines on wine-searcher.com

white wines

Barone di Villagrande, Bianco Superiore 2013, Italy
DOC Etna. All Carricante. Pale green/gold, lovely honeyed quality to this and very aromatic, but has nuttiness and the light earthiness. The palate has lovely freshness and lightness, and a big core of sweet fruit soon swept along with the acidity and a certain dry extract character. 88-89/100.

Barone di Villagrande, Legno di Conzo Bianco Superiore 2010, Italy
DOC Etna. All Carricante. Deep buttercup yellow to this, and lovely developed aromas that are nutty and almondy, very lightly oxidised, but really it's about the nutty development still underpinned by fruit. The palate is dry and has a stony mineral quality - very tight still, good juicy citrus fruit, but mellowing so the acid structure is a little softer. 89/100.

Planeta, Bianco 2013, Italy
DOC Etna. All Carricante. Very light, fresh lemony and herbal, with lovely small floral notes and lots of crispness. The palate is luscious, honeyed, with loads of creamy sweetness to the fruit but a terrific bite of pithy lemon acidity and that lick of salt. 90-91/100.

Tasca d'Almerita, Buonora 2013, Italy
DOC Sicilia, from Catania. All Carricante. Less aromatic, with an orange juiciness and seems nice and light and attractive, with less grip and nutty concentration. Fresh and juicy on the palate too, this is lighter and simpler than some, but charming. 87-88/100.

red wines

Barone di Villagrande, Etna Rosso 2012, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese 85%, Nerello Cappuccio 15%. Deep colour, and a slightly too oaky, resinous nose, with charry wood and a touch of something high and acetone-like from the wood I think. The palate has plenty of coffee oak too, but the fruit and the structure does come through, with delicious firmness and focus. The acidity is good, and the tannins are plush but really grippy. This is sophisticated stuff in the end, and if that oak integrates a little more it does have structure and bucketloads of fruit and spice. A slight heat of alcohol is another tiny niggle, but the wine is impressive in many ways. 87-89/100.

Barone di Villagrande, Lenza di Mannera Etna Rosso 2008, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. Lovely nose, soft and elegant with a briar and light coffee note, plenty of plush and creamy fruit, all very pleasing. There is quite a tight character on the palate with spice to spare and a firm tannic background. Very dry on the palate, and feels quite big, but a pleasing. 89/100.

Cantina Wiegner, Treterre 2009, Italy
IGT Sicilia, from Catania. Nerello Mascalese. Earthy and meaty, with a chunky and robust character but arguably a little too oxidised. 86-87/100.

Duca di Salaparuta, Lávico 2010, Italy
IGT Sicilia, from Catania. Nerello Mascalese. Herby, mellow, a touch woody and earthy, with some hints of an almost gamy character. The palate comes good, with a grip of rustic tannin, loads of acidity and loads of spice too. There is good balance here, with acidity and perhaps a touch too much alcohol, but the finishing is robust, creamy and full of spicy fruit. 88/100.

Girolamo Russo, Etna Rosso Feudo 2012, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. Youthful, quite dark, but not dense colour. Lovely briary notes, lots of sweetness and delightful natural, unforced fruit: creamy vinous quality that is just delicious. Long, deep with fruit and spice but shimmering with life and energy. A class act this. 91-92/100.

Girolamo Russo, Etna Rosso Feudo di Mezzo 2012, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. Plenty of new oak influence here, but also fabulous fruit intensity and sweetness, the flood of ultra seductive and ripe fruit is stunning, with a massive spine of dry tannin and juicy cherry skin acidity, this has copious black fruit and bittersweet dark chocolate, spices and a long, long finish of effortless concentration but huge power and no lack of elegance. 92-93/100.

Girolamo Russo, Etna Rosso San Lorenzo 2012, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. Fragrant, touched by herbs and wild flowers, but it also has lovely cherry fruit, a nice red fruit buoyancy and a lightly mineral and earthy depth too. The palate has big, big super-dry tannins, thick and mouth-coating, and suggesting this is really youthful and in need of plenty of time. 93/100.

Graci, Etna Rosso Doc 2012, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. Lovely lift and fragrance here too, lovely raspberry and cherry touches to the fruit and some real elegance to the aromas, a light and perfectly lovely volatile lift. The palate has elegance too, very correct - red and black berries, but light and fresh, and always elegant. 90/100.

Graci, Arcuria Etna Rosso 2012, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. Lots more roundness and vanilla here, with a deep pool of fruit beneath, with such silky fruit sweetness and texture. Very classy, very elegant, with loads of juicy blackberry and spice, and all the time that lovely Etna spice and acidity giving elegance even amongst the chocolate and richness of the fruit and tannin. Gorgeous. 92-93/100.

Pietradolce, Etna Rosso Pietradolce 2013, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. Such a gorgeous nose: flooded with flowers and old rose perfume, espresso and gentle truffle in the background, with some game and earthiness, loads of spice and seduction. The palate has delicious juiciness and savoury richness - it is really dry, very vinous and savoury, but there's a burgeoning sense of minerality, of liquorice and finely tuned, edgy acidity to this. Delicious and extremely juicy, with a long finish. 90-91/100.

Pietradolce, Etna Rosso Archineri 2012, Italy
DOC Etna. Nerello Mascalese. A slightly resinous oak note at first, a touch of torrefaction and yet good red fruit beneath. The palate has copious sweetness, the dry, savoury note of the orange acidity and the power of the tannins making themselves felt. This is big and has real muscle, and is surely one to lay down and approach again in several years. 92-93/100.

See all stockists of Etna wines on wine-searcher.com

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