2021 Etna Rosso, Graci, Sicily, Italy

2021 Etna Rosso, Graci, Sicily, Italy

Product: 20211320576
2021 Etna Rosso, Graci, Sicily, Italy

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This beautiful Sicilian red wine is made from Nerello Mascalese grapes grown on the iron-rich northern slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna. The Graci winery focuses on sustainability and showcases the natural expression of the grape and the area. 

The 2021 Rosso has a pale but vibrant garnet colour, with an intense nose full of complex red fruit and herbaceous aromas. The palate is incredibly fresh and lively, bursting with flavours of wild raspberries, blood orange, and hints of chocolate and wild herbs. The tannins are velvety and fine, and the finish is sapid and mineral, utterly delicious. 

Enjoy with pork ribs, pasta dishes or rich fish and drink from 2023 - 2033. 

Katie Merry, Assistant Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd

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Critics reviews

Eric Guido, Vinous93/100

Darkly floral and opening slowly in the glass, the 2021 Etna Rosso smoulders up with a nuanced blend of crushed rocks and dried roses. It’s soothingly round with medium-bodied weight and a saline mineral tinge up front that gives way to depths of tart cherry-berry fruits. The 2021 tapers off structured, long, yet beautifully balanced, with red inner florals and lingering exotic spice hints. This is punching well above the category of Rosso, but it will need some cellaring to come fully together.

I found the Etna Rossos from Graci among the top wines I tasted for this year's report. Especially the 2018 Arcuria Sopra il Pozzo, which transcends the conditions of this challenging year. The 2020 Rosso Arcuria and Rosso Feudo di Mezzo were equally compelling. However, I can’t say the same for the 2021 and 2022. In both cases, the wines come across as understated to a fault or mineral to the point of being fruit-challenged. When possible, I checked in on a second bottle, each time with the same result. For example, the 2021 Arcuria shows a Band-Aid note on the nose that leads me to suspect Brettanomyces.

Drink 2024 - 2028

Eric Guido, Vinous.com (September 2023)

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Wine Advocate92/100

The Graci 2021 Etna Rosso reveals a structured but slender personality with bright berry fruit, redcurrant and wild berry. The wine is balanced and fresh. It shows the specific volcanic character that only wines from the charred slopes of Etna can deliver. It is made with Nerello Mascalese harvested at 600 to 700 meters above sea level in ashy volcanic soils. It sees contact with cement and large oak casks only.

Alberto Aiello Graci is one of the protagonists of the Etna wine movement. He has added a beautiful new white wine to his portfolio from the Contrada Mugnanazzi, which sits at 700 meters above sea level.

Drink 2023 - 2028

Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (June 2023)

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James Suckling93/100

Crunchy cranberries, violets, allspice, and a hint of nutmeg undertones. Light- to medium-bodied with juicy and silky tannins supported by a bright backbone of acidity. Balanced finish. 

Drink or hold

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (October 2023)

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About this WINE

Graci, Sicily

Graci, Sicily

Alberto Aiello Graci has been making wine on Sicily's Mount Etna since 2004, the year he returned from his apprenticeship as a Milan banker, picking up the baton with 5 hectares of family land, 2 hectares of which is vineyards (the rest polycultural activities).

The region of Etna Rosso, famous for its black lava soils and elegant red wines made from the Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio grapes, has been undergoing a revival since 2000, lured by juicy EU grants and spectacular scenery. Once carpeted with vines - the fruit of which was allegedly used to in bulk to prop up the wines of the Langhe and of Burgundy - it has now become an artisan's playground, a mix of hobbyist and commercial winegrowers.

Alberto Graci is definitely in the latter category; his feet firmly on the ground. As the Vice President of the Consorzio, that covers 300 hectares of Etna DOC, he's forever preoccupied with the quality of the wines now being produced (at yields still as high as 65hl/ha).

His patch of heaven is part 50 year old, 8500 high density, free-standing 'alberello' vines at 1000 metres above sea level that produce naturally low yields amid the black grainy soils, part younger trained vines on flatter, lower sandier terra. He prefers to tend his vines as naturally as possible.

Fermentation takes place in a combination of large cement and Au strian Stockhinger oak of 42hl, at ambient (30-35 celsius) temperatures, using wild yeast, before moving the wine into slightly smaller Gamba barrels. He seeks the reductive quality of large oak, that captures the character of the soil and fruit, rather than the stylistic effects of micro-oxygenation brought by French barriques.

Alberto debuted his Etna Rosato (100% Nerello Mascalese) with the 2013 vintage, partnering the earlier drinking smoky red Etna Rosso, the more structured, wilder berried Quota 600 (from vines 600 metres up - a 500 case production of only Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio, lush and lithe), the high thrills of his Quota 1000 and the minerally citrus Etna Bianco Contrada Arcuria (made from 100% Carricante).

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Winemaking on Mount Etna, located on the eastern coast of Sicily in Italy, is a unique and ancient tradition that has gained significant recognition in recent years. Etna is one of Europe’s most active volcanoes, and its volcanic soil, elevation, and climate combine to create exceptional conditions for grape cultivation and winemaking.

The volcanic soil is rich in minerals and nutrients, making it highly fertile for grapevines. The dark, volcanic ash and lava rock contribute to the unique flavor profiles of the wines, giving them a distinct mineral and earthy character.

Etna is a high-altitude wine region, with vineyards located at various elevations ranging from 1,300 to 3,300 feet (400 to 1,000 meters) above sea level. This elevation results in cooler temperatures, which help to preserve acidity and freshness in the grapes, even in the warm Mediterranean climate.

The dominant grape variety is Nerello Mascalese. Nerello Cappuccio, another red grape variety, and Carricante, a white grape variety, are also cultivated here. These grapes are well-suited to the volcanic soil and elevation, producing wines with complexity and elegance.

Etna has a diverse range of microclimates due to its varying elevations, exposure to the sun, and volcanic activity. These allow winemakers to produce a wide range of wine styles, from lighter, more elegant reds to fuller-bodied, age-worthy wines.

The region has a rich history of winemaking dating back thousands of years, but in recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in producing high-quality wines. Many winemakers combine traditional techniques with modern innovations to create exceptional wines.

The region has its own Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) designation, which sets quality standards and regulations for winemaking. This designation helps protect the authenticity and quality of the wines.

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The Nerello grape is primarily grown on the Italian island of Sicily, specifically in the Mount Etna region. It produces two primary varieties: Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio; both have gained attention in recent years for their role in delivering high-quality, unique wines that reflect their volcanic terroir.

Nerello Mascalese: The dominant grape variety in the Mount Etna region, Nerello Mascalese is known for producing wines with intense aromatics, bright acidity, and a light to medium body. The grapes are thin-skinned, contributing to the wine’s elegant and pale colour. The wines typically have flavours of red berries, sour cherry, cranberry, and sometimes floral notes, with the potential to age well, developing more complex and tertiary flavours over time. As the vines grow on volcanic soils, the wines can also have a distinct minerality and earthiness.

Nerello Cappuccio: Often blended with Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio is typically less prominent and used in smaller proportions, although it can contribute darker fruit flavours, more structure, and deeper colour to the final wine.

Due to their vibrant acidity and medium body, Nerello wines are versatile with food. They pair well with various dishes, including grilled meats, roasted vegetables, tomato-based sauces, and seafood.

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