2018 Pietradolce, Etna Rosso DOC, Sicily Italy.
The fresh pinot like and slightly smoky Etna Rosso from Pietradolce is lighter style and easy to enjoy wine that delivers the essence of the unique terroir on the Sicilian volcano where it comes from with layers of tart cherry, strawberry, red peach and citrus zest along with flinty stones, a hint of leather, wild herbs and snappy spices. With a bit of air a more pretty and elegant form appears on the medium bodied palate that rounds out nicely with satiny mouth feel, this turns into a quite gem, especially with food, making it a solid value expression of Mount Etna. The Pietradolce Etna Rosso is made from 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes, grown on the stony, lava based soils on the cooler and high elevation northern slopes of the Etna volcano, which all adds to the complexity and personality in this wine. After experiencing this wine with food and friends, I’d buy it again no question, it was perfect choice at dinner with a range of dishes from steak to crisp battered cod with risotto. There is a clean and lively character flowing in this pretty ruby red Pietradolce, it is a solid performance and a very approachable Nerello Mascalese, which sometimes get favorably compared to Burgundy in its transparent flavors and the distinction of place.

Pietradolce is owned by Michele & Mario Faro and was founded in 2005 on the Northern slopes of Mount Etna and based in Solicchiata, Castiglione di Sicilia, in the province of Catania, all their wines are 100% estate grown and bottled with only the native grapes to Etna, which are bush vine, or head trained to reduce the need of irrigation in the volcanic sandy loams that also have abundance mineral elements. The Pietradolce Rosso, a single vineyard wine, is the winery’s entry level offering mostly from their younger vines, with a range 40 to 50 year vines, it’s 100% Nerello Mascalese that is grown at close to 2,000 feet above sea level. Mount Etna has a special micro-climate that is cooler than other areas in Sicily with big swings in day to night temps in the shadow of the volcano, which helps retain the vibrant acidity. This Etna Rosso, all hand harvested and macerated on the skins for about 20 days and fermented in tank before being raised in lightly toasted French oak Burgundy style barrels, which are mostly used, as this wine shows no overt oak influence. Mount Etna has become a mecca for enthusiast wine lovers and I highly recommend discovering this amazing winegrowing region, with this Pietradolce being a nice place to start!
($25 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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