Unless you’ve been living under a volcanic rock, you already know that wines from Sicily’s Mt. Etna have reshaped the Italian viticultural landscape. Nerello Mascalese, the active volcano’s favorite grape variety, has become so popular and so alluring in terms of its potential greatness that some of Italy’s most celebrated winemakers and wine trade players have set up shop there. The country’s most famous natural wine is made on Etna using Nerello. Some of its most coveted red wines are now made there using the same. And some of the top producers there are already hoping to capture a segment of the lucrative classic method market with sparkling wines made from Nerello.
As much as I’ve enjoyed Etna rosso — from the funky to the classic — it’s always been the white wines that have thrilled me the most. That’s partly owed to the fact that my wife and I drink mostly white wine at home. But it’s also thanks to the confluence of freshness and depth that white grape Carricante can achieve when handled by the right practitioners.
The variety’s greatness was on glorious display last week when I tasted Federico Curtaz’ Etna Bianco called “Gamma.” When I looked at the label, I thought to myself, “wow, that takes some real gumption to call a wine ‘Gamma,'” as in the “gamma factor” or “Lorentz Factor”: “the factor by which time, length, and relativistic mass change for an object while that object is moving” according to the Wiki.
But as soon as this wine came into contact with my tongue, I became a believer.
The fruit in the wine was like liquid electricity! Balanced citrus and elegant tropical fruit danced with elegant power in the blessed glass that had been fortunate enough to be filled with this wine.
It’s not a cheap date but it’s worth every last penny. What a wine!
Thank you to Anthony Baladamenti of Palermo Imports for turning me on to this.
Another memorable wine I tasted last week was the Beckham Sophia’s Pinot Noir from Oregon. Electric came to mind again when it came to the vibrant red fruit in this wine. Utterly delicious, with beautiful balance and classic style.
I was also intrigued to learn, thanks to the gent who tasted me on this wine, about
the another organic winemaker’s use of azolla as a cover crop. The famed fern is probably what saved our planet from warming in prehistory. And today, it’s used across the farming sector for nitrogen fixation, the replenishment of nitrogen in soil, in this case by organic means.
In today’s troubled times, we could all use a more azolla in our diets.
Thanks to James Endicott of Vinocity Selections for turning me on to this excellent wine and hipping me to the azolla movement.