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The Wines of Terre Nere: Sicilian Terroir and a Movie

Dear Team Sicily Part 3:

This week, we are here to emphasize terroir in Sicily. Yes, we have emphasized it before, in numerous parts. But, now we are really getting into the nitty gritty. One producer: 4 plots of land, all as different as different can be. His name is Tenuta delle Terre Nere

He doesn't mess around. Here is the quick story:

Plots are older than Betty White, but only recently taken over by the great Marc De Grazia -- an importer who has brought numerous iconic wines into the U.S. over the years. "Make wine?"
Let's do it. 

On roughly 21 hectares, of which roughly half are uprooted and replanted, the rest between 40-50 years old, with 1.5 pre-phylloxera (see below). Decades, centuries, millenniums and eons of volcanic eruptions have resulted in endless spoil variations, some much more dramatic than others. More importantly, the elevation at these vineyards is ridiculous, with drastic temperature variations.  

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.

Here are the results....

2013 Terre Nere Etna Rosso: $24.99
The entry level of this acclaimed line-up. All the stuff you love at an introductory level: Sweet herbs mixed with a succulent licorice. Try this and then try the others!

2012 Terre Nere Caldera Sottana: $39.99
All about the pine and menthol here -- don't think taxis, think stretched limos with Tom Hanks and his friend in the movie Big. Wild flowers and a firm red cherry brightness. Polished, firm and filled with finesse.

2012 Terre Nere Feudo di Mezzo: $39.99
Dark, deep and powerful. Firm and intense still containing lots of finesse at a philosophical level where Nerello Mascalese does a deceptive dance. Earthy and lots of wild tobacco -- before taxation.

2012 Terre Nere Santo Spirito: $39.99
From 40-100 year-old vines. Here you have lots of wild strawberries and cherries containing fresh roses with a swaffling of smokey ash. Probably the most caressing and silky of the four.

2012 Terre Nere Prephilloxera: $89.99
Yes, the hype is real. Vines dating pre-philloxera.  6 whole bottles. Right here. Haven't tried this vintage. Previous ones receive a minimum 95 points from the lords of dog town over at WS and WA.  

Take 10% off any 6 bottles, 15% on 12 from the above. Call, email or order online (we will refund the discount to you).

This is it for Sicliy for now. Stay tuned....
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