Terre Nere   Sicily, Italy  
 
 
 
  "Proprietor Marc de Grazia is one of the pioneers of the Etna. Not only was he among the first producers to recognize the value of these once-forgotten, ancient terroirs, he also was the first producer to bring attention to the specific qualities of these vineyards by bottling single-parcel Nerellos that have become reference-point wines for the Etna."  Wine Advocate, June 2010


"Proprietors Marco and Iano de Grazia are best known for the extensive portfolio their company represents but they are also proving to be very talented winemakers. Tenuta delle Terre Nere is located on Sicily’s Mount Etna, a recently re-discovered region that is set to challenge readers’ perceptions of Sicilian wines. These are believed to be the highest vineyards in Italy and Europe. The late-ripening indigenous Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio yield wines of notable aromatic complexity, with finessed tannins and a weightless quality that recalls Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. Many of the best sites are still planted to old vines that proved to be resistant to phylloxera, which contributes to the wines’ complexity. Terre Nere’s top selections are aged in French oak, of which about 25% is new. It will be fascinating to follow this young estate, which appears to have a very bright future." The Wine Advocate, Feb 2008


Terre Nere's wines "all possessed unbelievable freshness and complexity as well as huge perfumes that suggested Pinot Noir…These wines are astonishingly complex and ethereal efforts from the hillsides of Mt. Etna in Sicily.” --Robert Parker, The Hedonist's Gazette, Feb 06

Yes, it’s here, Marco DeGrazia’s very own wine! We’ve known the man as one of the best palates in all of Italy, someone who believes strongly in the vareity of the Italian terroir, be they in Piedmont, Tuscany… or even Sicily, on the slopes of Mount Etna.

The estate has roughly 20-21 hectares, of which 15 are planted to vines. Roughly 4.5 of these have been uprooted and will be replanted within two years after letting the soil "rest". Two vineyards, for a total of roughly 11-12 hectares, make up the Calderara Cru, of which 1.5 hectares are pre-phylloxera; the rest are about 40-50 years old (and they have not been uprooted). Two different vineyards comprise the Guardiola Cru, for a total of 2.1 hectares, almost all of which is pre-phylloxera (except for some replanted vines). The Guardiola vineyards are the highest-altitude red-grape vineyards in Europe!  The "Feudo di Mezzo" Cru is made up of two other vineyards, for a total of 1.35 hectares.

500,000 years of volcanic eruptions have created endless soil variation in neighboring plots of land, many of them radical. The soil at Terre Nere is mostly volcanic ash speckled by black pumice and peppered with abundant volcanic rock; to call it 'rocky' is putting it mildly! The weather variations in the area are profound and generally characterized by exposure, altitude, and 'airiness,' defined here as the character of a well-exposed vineyard not protected by hills, and therefore open to the cooling and drying effects of the wind.  This is particularly important at Terre Nere because the harvest usually takes place in the last weeks of October, meaning that the grapes are in their most fragile state when the weather 'breaks' its autumn pattern, making them susceptible to oidium and mildew.  The 'airiness' of the climate, however, helps to dry out the grapes after rain and moisture threaten mold.  

Above all else, the extraordinary elevation yields dramatic temperature variations between night and day, making the wines of Etna fine and elegant, devoid of the heat and overripe flavors that usually define southern wines. In fact, most people who have tasted these wines, particularly the 2004s, say they find them most akin to Burgundies or Barolos.

Production is simple, classic, and Burgundian in style: the grapes are grown organically, using only bordelaise mixture and organic fertilization - mostly dung.  Vinification follows the same lead: maceration-fermentation lasts 10-15 days, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in oak - 25% new - and bottling around 18 months later.

The 2004 vintage marks the real birth of Tenuta delle Terre Nere, because for the first time the estate is self sufficient, and the grapes produced were vinified at the estate’s new cellars. The wines are astounding. The '02 and '03s  have been likened to Pinot and Nebbiolo, as being Burgundian or Langhe-esque. Now there's no doubt about it. The old vines cuvees are difficult to distinguish from very fine Burgundy! With their subtlety and generosity,  the wines manage to be rich and precise at the same time.

Tenuta delle Terre Nere will be Certified Organic starting with the 2008 vintage. 
 
 
  Wines:      
  Note: * indicates limited item, please consult your sales rep for availability size formats other than 750ml may not contain wine information.      
 
Etna Bianco 'Le Vigne Niche', Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Bianco 'Le Vigne Niche', Terre Nere 2012   (1500ML)
Etna Bianco, Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Bianco, Terre Nere 2013    
Etna Rosso 'Prephilloxera', Terre Nere 2011    
Etna Rosso 'Prephilloxera', Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Rosso 'Prephilloxera', Terre Nere 2012   (1500ML)
Etna Rosso, 'Calderara Sottana' Terre Nere 2010    
Etna Rosso, 'Calderara Sottana' Terre Nere 2011    
Etna Rosso, 'Calderara Sottana' Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Rosso, 'Feudo di Mezzo', Terre Nere 2009    
Etna Rosso, 'Feudo di Mezzo', Terre Nere 2010    
Etna Rosso, 'Feudo di Mezzo', Terre Nere 2011    
Etna Rosso, 'Feudo di Mezzo', Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Rosso, 'Guardiola,' Terre Nere 2010    
Etna Rosso, 'Guardiola,' Terre Nere 2011    
Etna Rosso, 'Guardiola,' Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Rosso, 'Santo Spirito' Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Rosso, Terre Nere 2012    
Etna Rosso, Terre Nere 2013    
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
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