The 2010 vintage is finished, all wines fermented and decanting or aging to reach their bottling point as meanwhile we are already working for the 2011th harvest in the vineyards.
Below you will find a few comments on the new products for this year (RELEASE 2011) which will appear on the various markets as of June this year. This is a special release in many ways as these wines are our 10th anniversary release! As you can read on my blog, the 2010 harvest hasn't been an easy one.
In order to be able to meet our clients, I am present every year at different tastings in various countries. If you would like to join one of these events, please check the dates on our website which are constantly updated as there are always last-minute tastings being organized.
Don't forget to mark august 17th in your agenda! In the evening, we are giving a celebrating party for our estate's 10th anniversary and my 50th birthday (I am oxidizing...)! We are organizing this casual party for friends and clients as a way of thanking all of you who supported us in our quest for high-end, natural products.
Food & wine free and a nice way to come to Sicily this summer, hike up Etna, see our vineyards and have some great natural yeast pizza's at Sandro's place where the party will be.
We will send out an invitation to each of you ahead of time to get a confirmation as we do need to get a bit organized!
We have produced some more of the Rosso del Contadino 8 (another hectare more in lease compared to last year) and as the vintage was cool, this is always a guarantee for a "pinot-like" Rosso del Contadino. Even though this was a cool year and vintage, the Rosso del Contadino tends to be a bit more austere. Tasting the wine recently before finishing the malolactic fermentation, I guess the best will come out after a few years of cellar rest.
We had to raise the price a bit for our base wine, still maintaining a high price-quality level, as the labour costs of the old vines, alberello training system, steep terraced exposure and low crop in these vineyards are more than double compared to a Guyot system in a mechanized vineyard in a flat, valley floor vineyard. I believe these vineyards have an edge in grape quality and so I continue to lease and buy these "impossible vineyards" instead of going the easy way in the lower, leveled parts of Etna.
Unfortunately, like last year, we have little of the white MunJebel® Bianco 7 as we had to cut down lots of mouldy clusters to keep the good ones clean to push for ripeness. We did get a bit of botrytis this vintage and thus the wine will never be perfectly clear but it gains in "thickness" and exotic fruit. A nice surprise and gift from heaven because I thought our white this year was going to be a problem.
The vineyards in contrada Porcaria and Monte Colla have given beautiful fruit and I believe the classic MunJebel® Rosso 7 will be a good one. Too early to tell how different from the previous ones but it shows to be more austere which I personally like for a pure Nerello Mascalese wine.
New for this year's release is the MunJebel® Rosso 7 "VA" which stands for Vigne Alte. In 2009 I produced one anfora separately but in the end decided to blend it into the classic MunJebel® Rosso. Understanding how to handle the "élevage" (ageing) on these grapes, this will be the first version of the MunJebel Rosso VA, a blend of 4 vineyards, located between 800 and 1000m asl. It combines a nice and focused drive in flavours as well as good length.
Next year I will also produce a separate version of the MunJebel Rosso, called "MC", from our vineyard Monte Colla which will become this year our property. An incredibly steep and exposed "Rhône-like" vineyard, old alberello vines planted in 1946 on sandy clay soil, producing a very different Nerello Mascalese. I produced it this year but blended it into the MunJebel Rosso because of too little production, making little sense to bottle and sell separately. I attached a picture of the vineyard snowed under.
The Magma® Rosso 8VA of the 2009 vintage is a beautifully balanced wine. I am very proud of this wine as it represents very much the Barbabecchi vineyard, confirmed by very good press releases also for this wine. Unfortunately only 430 bottles and 30 magnums produced...
I can already announce that for the vintage 2010 (next year's release) I have decided not to bottle any Magma®. Although the vineyard character is definetely there, I am missing the element of density for a great wine.
Our rosato Susucaru® 3 has been produced again, although a smaller quantity because of the lower crop after the hail damage of last year. And so all is sold out already, before even writing up this mail!
Just like our Rosato, also our olive oils are already sold out as we had extremely little crop and so we produced only one olive oil, the base "Contadino".
I hope to meet you at the Villa Favorita event, or better still, at our estate. We will be happy to show you around and taste some of the wines together in a serene way.