Not too far away, Etna natives Carmelo Vecchio and Rosa La Guzza of Vigneti Vecchio tend little gardens of ancient vines, crafting tiny quantities of aromatic gems in their cramped Solicchiata basement. The Crasà Contrada, at 800 meters elevation, produces their most profound red, made from Nerello Mascalese co-planted with a smattering of other indigenous red and white grapes. This old-fashioned field blend recalls smoky incense, white pepper, and brandied cherries, while its tightly knit tannic structure promises great cellaring potential.
This young, family-run estate high on the northern slopes of Mount Etna has just bottled its first vintage from minuscule plots of very old vines. Planted in 1930, this single-vineyard Nerello Mascalese—co-planted and co-fermented with a smattering of other indigenous varieties—is a statement in power and finesse from Europe’s most active volcano. Recalling smoky ash, white pepper, and brandied cherries, it makes me crave a wood-fired pizza with a rich tomato sauce, hunks of fennel sausage, and crispy bits of singed, blackened crust. The suave mouthfeel and grippy finale lend themselves to pairings with a number of more nuanced dishes as well.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa