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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wine Review: Alta Mora Etna Rosso 2014

Cusumano isn't just Tony Soprano's doctor and neighbor. They're a Sicilian family winery now in their third generation with impressive vineyard spots for both their classic style wines and new age, trailblazing wines. Their entry level Nero d'Avolla is good quality and pretty popular among the average wine consumer in the US, but their other wines likes their Insolia are also nice.

Alta Mora is their new project. It's not a new label or brand as an extension of their winery, it's an entirely new winery itself. The focus of this winery is their vineyards on the slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna, so the name "Alta Mora" represents the high altitude and the dark volcanic soil.

The Etna Rosso is 100% Norello Mascalese. This is an indigenous grape to Sicily, mostly grown around Mount Etna, that is almost like a cross between a light and earthy Pinot Noir and the high acid, high tannin, tarry Nebbiolo. It may be outshined by Nero d'Avola on the market, but it will not be outshined in the glass.

Tonight for a music selection I'm listening to Jidenna. Like everybody else, I was inspired to hear more from him after watching the fifth episode of Marvel's Luke Cage Netflix series. He's a damn fine artist, I must say. You should give him a listen.

I adore the package of this wine. It's quite attractive in its simplicity. ALTA MORA is big white letters, a bunch of Italian in smaller grey letters but with CUSUMANO in white, ETNA ROSSO in red, the DOC statement and 2014 in white, then a big black space on the actual label. And Norello Mascalese usually does come in the sloped-shoulder format of bottles but they're fatter than this one, making them difficult to stock. The Alta Mora bottle is perfect.

The color of the wine is a dark ruby red made vibrant when held up against the light with its see-through clarity. The nose has wet wood, a hockey-bag-like dried sweat, black currant and cranberry juice. In the mouth it's light to medium bodied with tart acidity, structured tannin, and a soft flannel mouthfeel. There's flavors of cranberries, raspberries, steamed mushrooms, cinnamon and a few random appearances of fresh plastic. It finishes with a lengthy session of heat and astringency from the tannin.

This Norello Mascalese is gonna run you $24 and for that money it definitely earns a recommendation. It can also be extremely versatile when it comes to pairing with food. Heavy meat dishes or lighter ones, it'll work. Hell, I could even see it being a great partner with fettuccine alfredo.

Price: $24
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

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