Item Number: 30413
Item Number: 30413
Wine Spectator 95
#9 Top 100
"Ripe black cherry and raspberry fruit meets tarry mineral and accents of licorice, spiced orange peel and herb in this chewy, medium-bodied red. The bold flavor and structure are deftly knit into a graceful and harmonious package, with the spice and mineral character lingering on the finish. Best from 2020 through 2030. 750 cases made. –AN"
The Etna Rosso San Lorenzo is from 4 hectares of vineyards in the same named district in the town of Randazzo. The vines are more than 70 years old and the altitude is 750 meters above sea level, the soil is almost pure volcanic sand. The estimated production is about 60 hl.
The terroir in contrada San Lorenzo is originated by lava flows and volcanoclastic deposits related to the explosive activity of the the Ellittico eruptive center, which dates back from 60,000 to 15,000 years ago. Although very young by geological standards, the soils from the Ellittico eruption are the oldest superficial strata in which one may plant on Etna. The reason is simple: millennia of lava flows have buried all older soils, leaving, in fact, only very small and rare parcels of Ellittico soils. On the northern slopes of Etna there are four or five Contrade that have terroir from the Ellittico. Three, however, have mixed soils, blending soil from Ellittico of igneous nature with alluvial soils of sedimentary nature due to the overflowing of the Alcantara river. Only two Contrade out of hundreds and hundreds are “pure” terroir Ellittico: Calderara and San Lorenzo.
The Terre Nere estate has roughly 20-21 hectares, of which 15 are planted to vines. Roughly 4.5 of these have been uprooted and will be replanted within two years after letting the soil “rest”. Two vineyards, for a total of roughly 11-12 hectares, make up the Calderara Cru, of which 1.5 hectares are pre-phylloxera; the rest are about 40-50 years old (and they have not been uprooted). Two different vineyards comprise the Guardiola Cru, for a total of 2.1 hectares, almost all of which is pre-phylloxera (except for some replanted vines). The Guardiola vineyards are the highest-altitude red-grape vineyards in Europe! The “Feudo di Mezzo” Cru is made up of two other vineyards, for a total of 1.35 hectares.
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.
Farming Practice:Practicing Organic