2019 Cottanera Etna DOC Rosato
Sicily’s Mount Etna is arguably the harshest terroir in the world.
Not only are Etna’s vineyards as steep as the Mosel, as gravelly as Pauillac, as blustery as Cornas, and with a diurnal shift as great as Walla Walla—Etna has one more extreme: lava flows. Mount Etna is Europe’s most active volcano.
In this incredible terroir there are a few radical pioneers who are making great wine with Norello Mascalavese, Etna’s indigenous grape. While I love many of these Etna pioneers, I would like to focus your attention on just one today: Cottanera.
Conttanera is having a bit of a banner year – not only has Etna come to the wine world’s attention for its dramatic and soil-defining wines, but also within Italy itself, Francesco Cambria, winemaker and owner of Cottanera was awarded Winegrower of the Year by Gambero Rosso. Gambero Rosso is the wine equivalent of the international Slow Food Movement, and to achieve Winegrower of the Year is an extremely prestigious honor. And of course – his wine is extraordinary:
Here, the Cottanera Rosato (Italian for rosé) practically bursts with a nose of strawberries, sea brine, pomegranate and pink grapefruit. This wine strikes that beautiful Italian balance between layers of delicious fruit with a sprightly, vivacious midpalate and taut back-of-palate – it’s a wine where one glass just won’t do because it keeps you wanting more and more with its stimulating freshness.
Picture yourself drinking it in alfresco at Cottanera, tucked away in the shade on the north side of Mount Etna. Savor grilled whole Branzino bass with cured black olives and blood orange vinaigrette; roasted porcini mushrooms with garlic ricotta sauce; or simple ciabatta toasted with olive oil and covered with shaved Sicilian ham—this wine is a perfect fit for a breezy August picnic, or a serious summer grilling session.
As you can imagine, wines grown in such a harsh terroir are limited in quantity. And wines grown in such a terroir made by the top producer tend to come at a price. Usually, our access to this wine is both allocated and expensive. This year through happenstance, we stumbled into an amazing deal. Gather up a couple of bottles and let’s party like Sicilians tonight!