2012 Salvo Foti-I Vigneri 1435, Vino Rosso, Etna, Sicily.
Salvo Foti is the Volcano Man, he makes and consults for some of if not all the greats of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active Volcano and home to very old Nerello Mascalese vines that produce some of Sicily’s most prized wines. The Etna Rosso wines are often called the Burgundies of Italy, and tasting them, you can see why, these are delicate, spicy and emotional (evoking), sexy, compelling reds that speak to the heart and are passion filled, not heavy or fruity, but yes, somewhat like earthy Pinot, I am reminded of Nuits-St.-George, though the Etna wines when done well, like the Foti wines are, can be exotic and spellbinding with red spices and flinty minerals adding a level of complexity that is hard to beat. Foti is part of an association he created called I Vigneri 1435 (named after the pioneers of winemaking on Etna) that farms organically if not completely biodynamic, makes wines very naturally and uses only the native varietals, they are the volcano purists and everything is done my hand and hard work. This non classified Etna Rosso is a field blend of mostly Nerello Mascalese along with a little bit of Nerello Cappuccio, and maybe some other old time local grapes, who knows, but it is of course the Nerello Mascalese, from intense volcanic soils, that is the dominate force, and this 2012 Foti sings a siren song, it is beautiful and sublimely crafted, Foti uses cement vats, low sulphur and the wine is unfiltered, there is a gorgeous texture, lovely lift and vigor and a super long finish. The lead here is delicacy and grace, highlighted with lush fruit, plum, black cherry, strawberry and red peach along with slate/stones, truffle, basil/mint spices, savory elements, dried flowers and a hint of saddle leather. Foti’s touch is a gift, he captures the soul of the vines, the terroir and allows the grapes to paint a spectacular image, the 2012 Rosso is ruby red, With smooth tannins, bright acidity, medium weight, deep in flavor and shows lots of class and vibrancy. This is fantastic stuff and a great value in terms of quality to price, drink over the next 5 to 7 years, if you’ve never had Salvo Foti’s wines, you must, and if you’ve not ventured a taste of Sicily’s Etna, you really need to do so, and soon.
($42 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive
avail at www.sfwtc.com ($38.95)