Ayunta Etna Rosso Navigabile 2016
Red | Ready, but will improve | Ayunta | 2016 | Italy > Sicily > Mt Etna | Nerello Mascalese 70%, Nerello Cappuccio 20%, et al 10% | Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5% abv
Filippo Mangione is originally from the other side of the island and has spent much of his career in wine sales, but poured his life savings into the rescue of three hectares of old vineyards (some vines up to 200-years-old) on the northern slopes of Mount Etna, 700 metres above sea level. An autodidact winemaker full of passion and intuition, Filippo's philosophy is very simple: "only grapes, only time and a small amount of sulphites, no other additives."
His Etna Rosso is called Navigabile because this is the term stamped on boxes of the very best Sicilian wines intended for export. It comes from very old Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio vines, along with other not necessarily determinate varieties from the field blend, but probably including extremely ancient Alicante (otherwise known as Grenache). Open-top wild fermentation, then aged in a mixture of very old cherry wood and oak barrels for 14 months before bottling.
It's a beautifully balanced combination of bright acidity, tannic structure and complexity and depth from wild strawberries, cherries, herbs, leather and rose.