🌍 Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy
🍇 Nerelo Mascalese 94%, Nerello Cappuccio 6% from various contradas: San Lorenzo, Feudo, Calderara Sottana.
The Girolamo Russo estate was founded in 2005 by Giuseppe Russo, in memory of his late father. The family are native of Passopisciaro, one of the key villages at the heart of the rebirth of Etna’s most important grape variety, Nerello Mascalese. This is the north face of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna, in the north-eastern corner of Sicily.
The Russos have 26 hectares of land in and around Passopisciaro, with 15 hectares of vineyards surrounded by olive and hazelnut groves. The vineyards are high up, between 650 and 780 metres above sea level, inland from the beautiful town of Taormina. Many of the free-standing bush vines are over 80 years old, surviving in harmony with Etna’s black, mineral-rich volcanic soil.
Giuseppe works the vineyards organically and makes the wines himself. He vinifies each parcel separately, seeking out their individual identities in a series of wines that reflect the diverse character of their terroirs.
Some lava flows are very recent, too recent even to plant on. The area is broken up into sectors known as ‘contradas’. Each contrada has a name and is linked to one of Etna’s townships.
So San Lorenzo (which is the largest and highest contrada the Russos own vineyards in) is close to the town of Randazzo. Feudo is nearby, also near Randazzo, whereas Feudo di Mezzo is closer to Castiglione di Sicilia.
Due to its positioning on the layers of lava, ash and other volcanic soils, each contrada has its own character. In the same way, the wines that are made from each contrada vary as they reflect these differences in terroir.
👀 Ruby red
👃Elegant, with good complexity, and with notes of cherries and plums, leather and tobacco
👄 Fresh and complex, with supple, velvety tannins, good structure. Pleasurable to drink, with lovely length