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Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso Santo Spirito 2008

Other Red Blends from Sicily, Italy
  • RP95
  • W&S93
14% ABV
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  • WS92
  • RP94
  • WS91
  • RP95
  • JS95
  • WS90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The color is intense and bright ruby red. On the nose is elegant, complex, ripe fruit with sweet spices notes. The flavor is ample, enveloping, elegant and persistent.
Serving suggestions include meat dishes and aged cheese.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Terre Nere Etna Rosso Santo Spirito is dark, inviting and exceptionally polished. The big tannins are there, but here there is so much sheer density in the fruit that the wine's structural components are barely noticeable. This shows marvelous intensity all the way through to the dark, harmonious finish. Licorice, tar, and smoke add the final dimensions of complexity. The Santo Spirito was aged in a combination of French oak barrique, tonneau and cask, in roughly equal proportions. This is one of the more sensual of the 2008s.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
From three acres of 50- to 70-year-old vines in Santo Spirito, this wine hides behind its dark tannin before revealing sophisticated layers of fruit. What is mute becomes black satin umami and then juicy cherry, a regal wine from the volcanic earth. This is hard to get to as a young wine, tart and lean, needing several years in bottle to show itself more completely. Everything is in place: It should prove to be a classic.
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Tenuta delle Terre Nere

Tenuta delle Terre Nere

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Tenuta delle Terre Nere, Sicily, Italy
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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.

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 the 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 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 varieites 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 wines of the island.

Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry whites. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

EWLTERNERSANTSPIR_2008 Item# 111692