More Etna Nerello Blends

Tasting notes from blind tasting, continued


2009 Palari Faro Nerello Mascalese Nerello Cappuccio Nocera and other indigenous varieties, $50
Candied herbs on the nose with a little compost and loamy soil, then a slightly off-putting sweet, smoky note. Lots of fruit in the mouth, yet this doesn’t get heavy on the palate and remains juicy with orange rind and cherry fruit that is simple but appealing, with lightly astringent tannins that pop on the finish, tightening it up a bit. 87pts

2006 Benanti Serra della Contessa Nerello Mascalese Nerello Cappuccio, $45
Open on the nose with fresh herbal, leather game, laurel and lingonberry scents. A bit loose in the mouth. Nice components but they don’t seem that well-integrated. The fruit is elegant with some balsamic overtones, though the tannins are a bit drying and clip the finish. Might improve, lovely aromatics though. 87pts

2008 Cottanera Etna Rosso Nerello Mascalese Nerello Cappuccio, $45
A little rubbery on the nose, smoky dried grass and herb notes that smell rather honest. A bit rubbery in the mouth as well, but soft and broad with a juicy edge to the dark, slightly anonymous earthy fruit. This feels mature and ready. 86pts

2005 Benanti Rovittello Nerello Mascalese Nerello Cappuccio, $35
Smells both earthy and chemical with a smoky, tarry aroma. Richly fruited in the mouth with lots of filling bright raspberry tones. There’s a creamy edge to the fruit and a bright, clean finish. Not terribly complex, though if the nose freshens up this is well-made, easy and straightforward in a good way. 85pts

2008 Graci Quota 600 Rosso Nerello Macalese, $50
Passionfruit and pineapple greet the nose over hints of red fruit, but this is bizarrely tropical with growing grapefruit notes. A bit slick and polished on entry with plenty of glycerin, then simple spiced fruit on the mid-palate. The tannins on the finish feel a bit extracted, though they add some length to an otherwise ordinary, if clumsy palate. 84pts

2010 Cottanera Barbazzale Rosso Nerello Mascalese Nerello Cappuccio, $20
Sulfury and spicy on the nose. Light feeling in the mouth with sulfur-laced red fruits on the palate. Nice grip on the finish. The sulfur is a fault today. Seems like a pleasant wine under it though. 80pts

2007 Benanti Rosso di Verzella Nerello Mascalese Nerello Cappuccio, $15
Kind of jammy on the nose in a tarry, medicinal way with herbal edges. Good acidity up front, then this turns drying and flat with fading fruit uncovering firm tannins. 75pts

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