Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Bianco Le Vigne Niche 2011
Other White Blends from Sicily, Italy
Vigne Niche is barrel fermented and aged in large oak barrels. It is bottled roughly 12 months after harvest, then released after six more months of bottle age. A shy, late blooming wine of unusual complexity and great longevity, it will reward you for your patience with a rare, noble beauty.
Have it with leek, pumpkin or onion soup, lobster bisque, risotto, oven baked fish, poultry, braised rabbit.
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "The 2011 Etna Bianco opens with an extraordinary bouquet laced with the incense, smoke, gunflint, lime and crushed rocks. Taut and marvelously pure, the 2011 is endowed with superb energy and tension. Quite simply, the Bianco is one of the very finest Italian whites I have tasted in some time."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2011 Etna Bianco opens with an extraordinary bouquet laced with the incense, smoke, gunflint, lime and crushed rocks. Taut and marvelously pure, the 2011 is endowed with superb energy throughout. Quite simply, the Bianco is one of the very finest Italian whites I have tasted in some time"
International Wine Cellar - "Gold-tinged yellow. Penetrating aromas of peach, mustard seed and minerals. Then sweet and soft on the palate, with stone fruit and floral flavors lingering. This vintage of Vigne Niche appears to offer more early accessibility than potential staying power."
James Suckling - "A full-bodied white with chalk and lemon with hints of dried mango. Lovely integrated acidity and a fruity and clean finish. A blend of five white grapes: Carricante, Isolia, Grecanico, Catarratto, and Minella. Drink now or hold."
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Tenuta delle Terre Nere Winery
500,000 years of volcanic eruptions have created endless soil variation in neighboring plots of land, many of them radical. The soil at Terre Nere is mostly volcanic ash speckled by black pumice and peppered with abundant volcanic rock; to call it 'rocky' is putting it mildly! The weather variations in the area are profound and generally characterized by exposure, altitude, and 'airiness,' defined here as the character of a well-exposed vineyard not protected by hills, and therefore open to the cooling and drying effects of the wind. This is particularly important at Terre Nere because the harvest usually takes place in the last weeks of October, meaning that the grapes are in their most fragile state when the weather 'breaks' its autumn pattern, making them susceptible to oidium and mildew. The 'airiness' of the climate, however, helps to dry out the grapes after rain and moisture threaten mold.
Above all else, the extraordinary elevation yields dramatic temperature variations between night and day, making the wines of Etna fine and elegant, devoid of the heat and overripe flavors that usually define southern wines. In fact, most people who have tasted these wines, particularly the 2004s, say they find them most akin to Burgundies or Barolos.
Production is simple, classic, and Burgundian in style: the grapes are grown organically, using only bordelaise mixture and organic fertilization - mostly dung. Vinification follows the same lead: maceration-fermentation lasts 10-15 days, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in oak - 25% new - and bottling around 18 months later.
The 2004 vintage marks the real birth of Tenuta delle Terre Nere, because for the first time the estate is self sufficient, and the grapes produced were vinified at the estate’s new cellars. The wines are astounding. The '02 and '03s have been likened to Pinot and Nebbiolo, as being Burgundian or Langhe-esque. Now there's no doubt about it. The old vines cuvees are difficult to distinguish from very fine Burgundy! With their subtlety and generosity, the wines manage to be rich and precise at the same time.
Tenuta delle Terre Nere will be Certified Organic starting with the 2008 vintage. View all Tenuta delle Terre Nere Wines
About SicilyView a map of Sicily wineries (SIH-sih-lee) Nero d'Avola, this hot and hilly region is diverse. Sicily was at one time more quantity focused than quality, and while it's still producing a great deal of wine, the quality coming out is much better. With poor soil (great for grapes), warm sunshine, little rainfall and good mountain terrains, this little island is perfect for making the good stuff.
Notable FactsThere are still delicious sweet wines coming from Sicily, including Marsala, Moscato di Pantelleria & Malvasia delle Lipari. But the reds are the wines making people stand up and notice. Nero d'Avola is demonstrating its potential for making deep reds with the ability to age. Some winemakers are taking a chance with international varieties, like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These grapes are sometimes blended with the Nero d'Avola or other native Italian varietals – adding a bit of international sophistication to regional charm.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.