Grown on a tiny organic six-hectare estate, at nearly 2,300 feet of elevation on an active volcano, the 70+ year old vines dig deep into the soil and given the turmoil underneath, they certainly deliver a bevy of interesting nuances that are found almost nowhere else in the wine world.
Part of what I think has so confused the critics is the volcanic minerality which is easily tasted and experienced – but doesn’t find easy parallels among obvious red wine comparisons like those described above. The best I can do is tell you it’s actually more akin to the mineral electric energy you find in a truly great Chablis – though you can taste a touch of the volcanic underpinnings. (I know it’s a white wine comparison but it’s still the most accurate).
Once you get a handle on that unique minerality, it really is just an immense combination of bright, beautiful dark fruits overlaid by an ever-evolving cornucopia of floral, citrus, and spice aromas that’s quite intoxicating. The blood orange, white pepper, and winter spices will be obvious, but I’m sure each of you will find other more interesting nuances – violets, olive, maybe even a “whiff of wild fennel”.
Like I said at the beginning, I’d be pleasantly surprised to pay 75 bucks a bottle for a wine of this character. And while this wine is very hard to find here in the US, its everyday price of $30 is a steal.
“In 2004 Silvia Maestrelli, who also owns Villa Petriolo in Tuscany, bought her Sicilian estate, consisting of roughly seven hectares of vines in the Rovittello area of Etna located at 670 meters. In fact, Tenuta di Fessina is not just one of the many young estates to have sprung up on Etna lately but also one of the best, offering many finely chiseled red wines that are lighter in body than those of most other Etna producers. Tenuta di Fessina is also one of the few estates that produce a monovariety Nerello Cappuccio wine. Maestrelli’s willingness to experiment with old forgotten varieties of Etna (rather than plant Petit Verdot or other international varieties as other newcomers have done) is a testament to her vision and her commitment to Etna’s distinctive terroirs.”
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92 Points, Wine Enthusiast
Aromas of brimstone, Mediterranean scrub, blue flowers and eucalyptus form the inviting nose along with a whiff of wild fennel. The racy, linear palate is almost ethereally elegant, offering tart red cherry, blood orange, olive brine and ground clove alongside vibrant acidity and lithe, dusty tannins. It’s still youthfully nervous so give it another year or two to come together, then enjoy. Drink 2023–2028.
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