Cottanera Etna Barbazzale Rosso 2019
Vibrant ruby red in color. Delightful scents of raspberry and blackberry, wildflowers interwoven with light mineral scents. Very pleasant freshness on the palate, with a fresh-tasting hint of acid.
In its essence, the story of the Cottanera winery is about a return to one’s roots. The story begins with Francesco Cambria, who, in 1962, seeking a retreat from his career in Messina, bought 100 hectares of vines and hazelnut groves near his birthplace in Randazzo. Francesco cultivated hazelnuts and also initially sold grapes to the local cooperative, but with the arrival of DOC status for Etna in 1968 and hazelnuts losing market share, he soon decided to focus on grape growing for bulk wine production, replanting the hazelnut groves to vines. In the late 1980s, Francesco’s son Guglielmo decided to build a winery to make his own wine, rather than selling the grapes, and he was quite successful selling it “sfuso” in demijohns to local consumers and restaurants. The initial success of these wines pushed Guglielmo to point on quality wine production, so in the mid-1990s, he renovated his father’s vineyards to increase density and lower yields, and the first wines labeled as Cottanera were born.
A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.
Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on this sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white Sicilian wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.
Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieties or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected Sicilian wines of the island.
Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry Sicilian white. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.
Extending across the variable volcanic soils of the slopes of Mt. Etna at some of the highest vineyard altitudes in all of Europe—up to 3,300 feet—Nerello Mascalese is one of Sicily’s most noble red varieties. It makes a beautifully aromatic, firm, cellar-worthy but pale-hued red often comparable to a fine Burgundy or Barbaresco. Somm Secret—Nerello Mascalese takes its name from the black color of its grapes, nerello, and the Mascali plain between Mt. Etna and the coast where it is believed to have originated.