The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Graci 2012 Etna Rosso

Posted on | December 16, 2014 | Written by David Bertot | No Comments

graci-etna-rosso-sicily-italy-10437225I thought I knew about wines when I first started working at Italian Wine Merchants. Even as an engineering student at Florida International University, I was greatly interested in wine. Contrary to my academic advisor’s advice, I enrolled in Wine Technology. Needless to say, the concept of drinking wine in a classroom on campus at 21 years old appealed to me. Little did I know that the course was surprisingly challenging; it was not an easy A. The business students were spending more time on this class than some of their business classes. In fact, FIU has one of the best hospitality management programs in the country; with Miami being the backyard of southern wines and spirits, the facilities were beautiful.

Nevertheless, the seed was planted. As the years went on, I kept educating myself through tastings, books, and wine travel. When I moved up to NY, my wine education kicked into a higher gear. All of a sudden all sorts of new wines became accessible to me. Then I joined IWM in 2010, and my education was put into overdrive. Some of my fondest memories in this education of beautiful Italian wines are my discoveries of how powerful and interesting the indigenous wines of Italy can be.

Today I bring you the beautiful wine of Graci Etna Rosso 2012 made with the indigenous Nerello Mascalese grape, grown on the northern slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna, where viticulture dates back thousands of years. Graci’s parcel contains two hectares of ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines planted over a century ago. Graci practices viticultural techniques that require very limited intervention in the vineyards and in the in the cellar. This combination yields an amazing, pure expression of the rich volcanic island soils.

In the glass the wine is bright ruby red. The nose overwhelms with violets, roses, and peonies. The wine is crisp and firm on the palate, without being too tannic, with bright red cherry and subtle flavors. One thing I find particularly interesting about this wine is that is can be deceiving—please, allow me to explain. I once hosted a sit-down Saturday tasting at IWM, and the crowd agreed: it is soft and supple, yet it packs a punch when served with food. The wines stands up incredibly well with lamb accompanied with a mint sauce. Wine is a constant and humbling education and the Graci Etna Rosso 2012 is a welcomed addition to an ongoing education.

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