2015 Fattorie Romeo del Castello, Nerello Mascalese “Allegracore” Etna Rosso DOC, Sicily Italy.
The surprisingly tart and fresh Allegracore by Chiara Vigo at Fattorie Romeo del Castello feels like a youthful village Burgundy and has an inner energy that belies the warm vintage, it’s spicy cherry notes and volcanic mineral/flinty elements make for a lovely, vibrant and delicate wine of remarkable rustic charm and length. Influenced by Salvo Foti, which you can tell (and taste) in this Nerello Mascalese based wine (it certainly has a bit of Nerello Cappucino in there too), Chiara Vigo has captured a soulful expression of Mount Etna, and while her upper scale (level) cuvees offer deeper concentration, this Allegracore gives a damn good performance for the price, it’s layers gain dramatically with air, as does it’s finessed texture, while still giving a seductive lightness and earthy impression on the rounded palate. Pleasing and bright it has poached cherry, plum and red pepper flake covered strawberry at it’s heart along with wet shale, dried roses, minty anise and bitter herbs. Lingering briar laced raspberry, tangy lavender, blood orange and kirschwasser add to the mix as well as a hint of truffle, sandalwood and leather all appear in the light to medium bodied red that shines pale ruby in the glass. Native ferments, with a gentile 12 day maceration the Allegracore sees only stainless steel in it’s making and aging, which highlights the vivid purity and zestiness allowing the natural acidity to lift this entry level bottling, that also hides the ripeness, since it comes in at 14.5%, where as you’d almost never guess the alcohol was above 13%, impressive in it’s focus and elegance, it’s a wine to enjoy over the next 3 to 5 years. Fattorie Romeo del Castello is imported by Louis/Dressner, same as Arianna Occhipinti, and is never easy to locate, but well worth searching out
($28 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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