2014 Fattorie Romeo del Castello, Vigo, Etna Rosso DOC, Sicily, Italy.
Chiara Vigo’s Nerello Mascalase, always a treat and one of my favorite Mount Etna wines comes from the slopes of the Volcano and is a ripe and expressive example of this varietal. Chiara, who employed the help of Salvo Foti, who is one of the greatest growers and the godfather of the vines in this region of Sicily, crafts fruit forward and delicious wines that are passionately proud with terroir intensity and underlying savory tones that gives complexity. This vintage highlights why many people call Nerello Mascalase the Burgundy of Sicily with its delicacy, elegance and subtle earthiness making it a gem, plus its textural quality is opulent to the point of sublime. The 2014 Fattorie Romeo del Castello Vigo, like prior years, is sourced from a single estate parcel of vines called La Fruttiera, is rich and sweet fruited on the medium to full bodied palate with loads of spicy/flinty mineral charm, influenced heavily from the black lava rock and hardened ash soils, it drinks smoothly and satiny and as noted in earlier reviews the Vigo shows a regal depth and density. The nose starts with wild flowers, smoky shale, crushed raspberry, this wine has thrilling aromatics and supple fine grained (sweet) tannins. In the mouth you get racy red berry, sweet and tangy currants, kirsch and plum that is accented nicely with notes of iron, cedar, lavender, leather and grilled fennel. There is a nice cut of acidity and vibrant complexity in this 2014 that keeps things fresh as in matures in bottle and its noted mineral core and spice with subtle pepper flakes make everything really pop, especially with rustic cuisine, like grilled octopus, hard cheeses and or squid ink pasta dishes.

The Fattorie Romeo del Castello, set on the very edge of a no mans land and is located 700 meters up the slopes of Mount Etna is run by proprietor Rosanna Romeo’s daughter Chiara Vigo, with the pair having elevated this historic estate to a world class property. Vigo’s 14 hectares of vines are surrounded by a lava flow from an Etna eruption back in 1981 that threatened to destroy the whole estate, but in what could be called a miracle, the lava flow stop at the edge of their most prized old vines, luckily, for them and us, their 100 year old vineyard of Nerello Mascalese was spared. The grapes are all hand-tended and harvested using holistic and organic methods, as is the way of Salvo Foti, who as noted helped Vigo get things on track here. The Fattoria Romeo del Castello wines were originally fermented in open wood vats, but now the Vigo sees maceration and primary in stainless steel for clarity and freshness, but without added yeasts or enzymes and with strict temperature control using ultra low and sometimes no sulfur. The Vigo Nerello Mascalese, with a tiny bit of Nerello Capuccio, was aged in mainly older oak barriques for close to 12 months on the fine lees and then bottled without fining or filtration. The Vigo, as Chiara notes, first made in 2007, is the original wine at Romeo del Castello and is in homage to her father, and when she started making the Allegracore (the winery’s second wine) bottling the Vigo became or was elevated to a Riserva only produced in small quantities and only in the best vintages. The Vigo 2014 has Chiara’s grandfather Luigi Romeo del Castello on the label, each release features a different design that reflects Chiara’s love of family and expresses her own artistic talents as the designs are her own work.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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