Vinosseur.com

…spontaneously fermenting

A tasting note: 2007 Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Bianco 4

2009-06-02_17921

Date tasted:  June 2nd, 2009 15:00(3pm)

Frank Cornelissen owns about 12 ha on Mt. Etna in Sicily. He’s a non-interventionist who says “Consequently this has taken us to avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be.”

img_0002

Frank & Alberto at the top of 'Rampante', the pre-phylloxera vineyard at 1010m altitude located above Solicchiata on Mt Etna after the devasting forest fire of 3 full days & nights.

On a postcard I recently received, he goes on to say  “To produce a bottle of genuine, natural wine, the recipe is simple:  take large quantities of dedication, determination, intuition and coherence.  To these ingredients throw in a strong dose of masochism in order to physically and emotionally survive the difficulties and downsides of this ‘Art of Wine’.  Finally, enjoy a glass (or more) of this wine, before sending the rest around the world to good homes.”

Of all the “natural” wines I have tasted, Frank’s are always the most interesting.  I am not saying that his wines are the most well-made of the natural wines I have tasted, but his are always the most engergetic.  And, definitely the most natural tasting compared to his counterparts.  From the very rustic labeling, to the almost opaque  wines that are very obviously not filtered nor fined.

This “orange” wine is no exception.  Made from the local (white grapes) Grecanico Dorato, Coda di Volpe, Carricante and Cattaratto grapes, this orange wine is barely see through.  This cloudy wine is so packed full of sediment that I swore I could see chunks of grapes floating towards the bottom of the bottle.  Of course this is a “slight” exaggeration, but it sure made me happy knowing that this wine was made from something (grapes) that was growing wild in the vineyards, and nothing else.   His wines are the most natural of the natural wines I have tasted, and this wine was no exception.  His wines have a certain “energy” about them which is hard to put in words, but they make you feel good.

The grapes for this wine come from various vineyards on Mount Etna owned and cared for by Frank.  Frank harvests the approximate 13ha/hl of grapes totally by hand.  The bunches of grapes are put into a destemmer and crushed, not pressed at this time.  This machine is more of a crusher than a destemmer as it hardly removes any of the stems at all.

The must is then placed into plastic containers in his backyard (no temperature control here) which are then covered with a tent-like plastic material to keep the rain out.  Of course only indigenous yeast here.  The wine is left to spontaneously ferment and macerate with the skins for about 4 months giving the wine it’s apricot-hued glow.  The wine is then pressed into Amphorae with the help of gravity and then bottled.  Absolutely nothing else is added to this wine. Nothing.  Not even SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide).  The wine is not fined nor filtered before being bottled and this is evident.  Since Frank bottle’s his wine without filtration, the last wines bottled have more sediment than the first ones.

2009-06-02_1795

First tasting 1500 (3pm):

Appearance: A very cloudy, unfiltered appearance.  Loads of sediment which are very visible to the naked eye.  In the glass, the wine has an apricot juice hue with a medium intensity.  It is hard to analyze intensity with an unfiltered wine of this type (wine with high intensity glows can indicate a high level of intensity and vice versa).

2009-06-02_18092009-06-02_18112009-06-02_18002009-06-02_1803

Nose: Apricots with hints of minerals and loads of farmyard (those of you familiar with red Burgundy know what I am talking about).  The distinctive (for me) Cornelissen pickle juice.  Dry hay and flowers.

Palate: Wild just like the other Cornelissen wines.  Typical.  A little tingle at the front of the tongue initially from the slight residual CO2, which quickly burns off with a little swirling of the glass.  Medium minus tannins.  High acidity, but not harsh, just mouth watering and mature.  Pickles and smoke.  Kumquats.  Essence of apricots and peaches, but not sweet.    Bone dry with around 2g/liter of residual sugar according to my palate.

Second tasting 1809 (609pm):

Nose: Much more pickles and farmyard.  Less distinct apricots.  The apricot aromas I do get are of unripe apricots.

Palate: Medium minus tannins.  Rosemary, sweet yellow fruit at the back end, apricots.  Finish is long and persistent with mild tannins, great acid and smokey flavors.  The wine sits and sits.

Interesting to note that although the wine was dry, it paired well with sweeter dishes.  It worked well with my honey and lemon marinated chicken.  It was also working surprising well with my Mexican Cactus Fruit.. Strange….

I’m always fascinated with the fact that the few bottles of natural wine that I manage to keep open a few days seem to only improve.

2009-06-02_1796

Please check out my video wine tasting of Frank Cornelissen’s Rosso del Contadino! Click below and forgive the quality:

Wine Tasting with Vinosseur – 2007 Frank Cornelissen Rosso del Contadino 5 from vinosseur on Vimeo.

Category: 1 WINE, 2 PRODUCER PROFILE, 3 TASTING NOTES, 31 Days of Natural Wine, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Frank Cornelissen - Mt. Etna (Sicila), Italy, Italy, Mt Etna, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Sicilia

4 comments



A tasting note: 2006 Vinarstvo Simčič Rebula Seleklija (Reserva)

2009-05-19_16832009-05-19_1687

Date tasted:  May 19th, 2009

Exciting things are happening in Western Slovenia and North Eastern Italy.  The exciting thing that both countries have in common is the Rebula (Ribolla Gialla) grape which is quickly gaining cult status among us wine nerds.    It produces aromatic wines with high acidity and when a little skin contact is added to the mix, wines of great complexity and length can be produced.  (White) wines with skin contact are gaining popularity in the wine world and being referred to as “orange wines” due the color that extended skin contact gives the wine.

2009-05-19_1693Vinarstvo Simčič is situated in Ceglo (Zegla), a small village in the region of Goriska Brda, by the Slovene-Italian border, by the Italian hills of Collio.  Half of their vineyards lie in Slovenia while the other half lie in Italy.  An hour and half drive will get you both to Venice or the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. I have been told that this is one of the top producers in Slovenia, if not the top.  In fact, I was speaking to a respected source who also sampled some of their red wines (blind) and said that they were better than many Bordeaux’s….

They grow 100% of their grapes in their vineyards, which cover 16 ha.   They believe in the most natural methods of viticulture, reducing crop and leaving the grapes on the vine as long as possible.  They also follow ancestral and traditional vinification methods in the cellar, which is located 5 meters underground.

This wine is the Rebula Reserva (Seleklija).  The Rebula vines are 48-51 years old and lie at an altitude of 200-250 meters above sea level.  They have a North-West exposure and the soil is composed of marl, slate and sandstone.  The grapes are hand-harvested (bunches are carefully selected)  at the beginning of October.  The fermentation takes place with the skins in 3000 liter conical oak barrels (tino) using only indigenous yeasts.  The wine is separated from the skins after 6 months of maceration.  The wine is then matured in big oak barrels for 2 years.  The wine was bottled in September of 2008 without fining or filtration.  No added sulfur.  Only 2000 bottles produced.  13.5% Alcohol (14% according to the label).  Total acidity is 4.56 grams per liter.  Price in Norway is 250 Norwegian Kroner ($39)

2009-05-19_1688First tasting:  15:51 (3:51pm):  (from the refrigerator)

Appearance: Apricot orange.  Very clean looking with medium intensity.

Nose: Yellow fruit especially yellow plums.  Fresh apricots.  Hints of acacia honey.  Hints of herbs with underlying minerals

Palate: Ripe fruit, apricots, sultana raisins (semi-dry).  Medium to medium plus acidity.  Medium to medium plus alcohol.  Long finish, light minerality.

Second tasting:  16:31 (4:31pm):  (cellar temperature)

Nose: Tighter, more complex yet more focused.

Palate: Focus on the palate also sharper, alcohol a lot more integrated (interesting since this was now a few degrees warmer).  The wine has become very elegant with very mild tannins starting to emerge.

Third tasting:  21:00 (9:00pm):  (cellar temperature)

Nose & Palate: Amazing focus and elegance with “sweet” fruit emerging.  Lots of apricots.  Mild tannins, ripe acidity and great length.

This wine improved after being open half a day.  I often find that wines that are more natural tend to improve over the course of several hours and even days.  Unfortunately, this wine was so good that it never had a chance to make it to day two or three.  In my opinion this is a serious wine well worth the price tag.

2009-05-19_1681

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Goriska Brda, natural wine (100% living wine), orange wine, Slovenia

3 comments



A tasting note: 2007 Cantina di Nomi/Antichi Portali Rulander

2009-05-05_008Date tasted:  May 5th, 2009

Cantina di Nomi is a cooperative situated in the heart of the Vallagarina, between Trentino and Rovereto in the far North in Italy.  The cantina was formed in 1957 by a group of farmers and, according to the website, the almost 200 hectares are harvested by hand.

This wine is part of the Antichi Portali line and is made with the Rulander grape, also known as Pinot Grigio. The grapes for this wine are harvested by hand and come from a single vineyard called Castel Pietra.  Once harvested and crushed, the skins are macerated with the must for 18-24 hours at a temperature of between 6-8°C (43-46.5°F).  The wine is aged for a short period in stainless steel.

Appearance: A very light bronze/rusty color. Medium intensity with good clarity, most likely this wine has been filtered.

2009-05-05_520091557Nose: Not very floral nor fruity.  Under ripe lemons.  Light aromas of gooseberry, with slight green notes (some similar aromas to Sauvignon Blanc, but less intense and green).  Hints of under ripe melon.  Not a terribly intense nor complex wine.

Palate: Very dry, medium acidity.  Dry orange peel.  A bit steely and saline.  Crisp with a medium long finish.  Medium alcohol.  Very slight oxidaton on the palate.

I tried the wine again the next day and there was no evolution.

Overall this wine was OK, but not great.   I expected greater complexity due to the skin contact, but the short time on the skins didn’t add much to the wine. It is quite a typical Pinot Grigio.

It’s suitable for an aperitif or just to refresh yourself on a hot day.

2009-05-05_006

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Italy, orange wine, Trentino

1 comment



Categories

About

About
Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

Get in touch

Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com