Girolamo Russo 2018 'Fuedo' Rosso, Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy - DECANTsf

Girolamo Russo 2018 'Fuedo' Rosso, Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy

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Single vineyard Nerello Mascalese! Drinks like a Volnay, but this is 100% Italy. 

Winemaker: Giuseppe Russo

Farming: Certified Organic

Varieties: 94% Nerello Mascalese, 6% Nerello Cappuccio

Terroir: Mount Etna is Europe’s largest active volcano and home to some of the world's most interesting vineyards in pure, decomposed volcanic soils. Vines here are not trellised, but planted in the Albarello (little trees) style at 650m (2,130ft) above sea level. Planted in 1950.

Vinification: Grapes are hand picked continually over a few weeks only harvesting bunches at peak ripeness. 20 days maceration, controlled low temperature fermentation in steel and plastic tanks with indigenous yeasts.

Aging:  18 months in 2,500 L barrel. 3700 bottles produced.

Tasting Notes: For Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo lovers, Nerello Mascalese is an exciting find — it can produce reds with impressive delicacy as well as those with great structure. From the ‘Fuedo’ single vineyard, this is a red of both impressive delicacy and structure. Of his three single vineyards, Feudo is regarded as the most generous. Fabulous with pasta dishes and grilled light meats.

Giuseppe Russo is a quiet, thoughtful young man, formerly a pianist. Since 2005 he has been organically farming his family's old vineyards, many of the vines around 100 years of age, and he is restoring the old cellar under his house. He has 15 hectares of vines on the Northside of  Etna around the town of Passopisciaro and sells off the fruit from the youngest vines to other producers. He is currently producing his 2000 case production from only 7  hectares of old vines. 

 

From our 2022 Serious Inquiries Only Bottle Club Notes:

Girolamo Rosso | Fuedo Nerello Mascalese | Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy | 2018

    My love affair with Sicily first began in 2009, with a family trip to the volcanic island. I was absolutely taken with the ancient architecture and endless food histories, influenced by the centuries of passing conquerors and cultures. I was enamored with the warm sun of the southern Mediterranean but delighted by the cool ocean waters, and even more so by the looming vision of Mount Etna. There is a constant hum of energy knowing that you operate in the shadow of one of Europe's most active volcanoes. For the winemakers who operate on this beast, they must not only have grit and determination, but also the actual skill to produce meaningful wines. After all, if you're not that talented, do you really want to risk it all on a vineyard that might be turned to ash overnight? I believe this is why the wines of Mt. Etna are generally some of the most consistently well made in all of Italy. There is a dedication unlike many other places in the world.

    While I had traveled to Sicily a couple of times and soaked in the imposing volcano, it was not until I tasted the wines of Girolamo Russo that I truly understood Mt. Etna's grace. Guiseppe Russo has been operating his family's vineyards and winery since the early 1990s when his father Girolamo passed suddenly. The Russo wines capture the best of Etna—its Burgundian nuance of minerality and earthy fruit, derived from the cold summers and high altitude (2,130ft), and also its elegant Italian rusticity, a structure that's drawn from the 72-year-old vines planted in pure decomposed volcanic soils. This is truly a unique terroir which is why the wines exist in a league of their own. Made from 94% Nerello Mascalese, and 6% Nerello Cappuccio, two indigenous Sicilian varieties, Feudo is drawn from a single vineyard on the northern exposure of Etna.

    According to Giuseppe, 2018 was a cool and rainy year, which forced a strict selection of only healthy grapes and reduced the production of the bottles.

But he added that "Wines that express a 'smaller' vintage, more refined, elegant and at the same time interesting [are] personally vintages that I prefer." Giuseppe allows 20 days of maceration, with controlled low-temperature fermentation in steel and plastic tanks with indigenous yeasts. The additional aging of 18 months in 2,500L tanks edifies the wine's structure. Young Mt. Etna reds can be tannic, smokey, and unrevealing. But even a few years of patience brings out the delicate, ripe red-fruited notes of the Mascelese and the savory herbal tones of the Cappuccio. The tannins begin to melt into the acidity of the wine, and a properly aged Etna will remind you of some of the finest Volnay wines. The single-vineyard Feudo bottling is a powerhouse that will benefit from 10-15 years of aging. Patience will reward you greatly, and you'll be able to pair it alongside any type of food that relies on warm spices or smoke, or braised cooking techniques. Even a creamy, earthy cheese will do the trick! Lie this one down for 10-12 years, and open for 30 minutes before enjoying. — Simi Grewal


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