2009 Frank Cornelissen Etna Contadino 7 (Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC)
Had this with dinner while at Le Chateaubriand tonight, on the suggestion of the sommelier. I asked for something light bodied, funky/earthy/rustic, and red, and this is what he came up with. Color me impressed.
The color was that of a cloudy deep-colored rose. The nose was spiky/fruity, with a strong undertone of balsamic and leather. The palate started off quite acidic, backed by some frizzy cranberry and some background leather and earth. If I understand the Italian on the label, this is a rather aggressive “natural wine.” There was obviously some V/A going on in the bottle we had, and the sommelier did say some bottles he opens are “like Champagne.” This paired quite well with a wide range of foods — from beef broth with tarragon, to pan-seared turbot with brown butter, to wagyu, to a range of funky cheeses. This wine is certainly not going to please everyone, as it has a very distinctive and forthcoming personality, but that also makes it a wine that I think a few people will fall in love with. A totally new experience for me — I will look high and low for more of this incredibly unique wine.
Returned to Le Chateaubriand this past Thursday and requested that this wine be included in the wine pairings we ordered for dinner. The sommelier gleefully agreed, and even suggested that we might want to try the 2006 vintage, for comparison sake.
The '06 was significanlty toned-down, showing not nearly the same levels of acidity and spritz as the '09. I also found the '06 to be showing deeper fruit flavors than the '09. Overall, I prefered the '09 for it’s brashful youthfulness, but enjoyed the '06 quite a lot nonetheless.
Cornelissen’s wines are great fun to experience… I have 2 bottles of this, BG… it was a Garagiste offering last year at sub $20… his Rose is incredible. I look forward to trying this. So… youse guys found a good place to eat in N. England or are you doing Paris on the weekends???
We actually ate at Le Dauphin on Friday. We made reservations there because I “seemed to recall” hearing good things about it … but I could have been completely fabricating those memories. Anyways, Le Dauphin was very good, but a good notch or two below Le Chateaubriand qualitatively and creatively; Le Daupin was about 25% less than our bill at Le Chateaubriand tends to be, though, and it’s actually possible to get a reservation at Le Dauphin, whereas we’ve done the reservation-less 9:30 seating at Le Chateaubriand the 3 times we’ve been there. Honestly, all things considered, I think Le Chateaubriand may be my favorite restaurant.
I’ve had very erratic results with different vintages of this wine. I’m assuming it was storage issues that made the difference, given how badly spoiled the bad bottles were. But the good bottles have been very good indeed, and at a very reasonable price.
We had a dish that had a razor clam, as well; it was wonderful. The fresh burrata went over well, as did a fresh crab dish. Agree on the winelist, although we were able to find a decent-enough 2007 Domaine Vallette - Macon something or other at a kinda decent price.
Had this bottle a couple months ago at Lotus of Siam with a couple other WB folks. I thought it was a great bottle of wine with incredibly unique characteristics…
2009 Frank Cornelissen Etna Contadino 7- Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC (12/9/2010) Dinner at Lotus of Siam (Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas): Very interesting wine that I was very fond of. When I first tried it the temperature was cool and the nose displayed a spicy radish note that was deep and pronounced. Layered on top of that was cranberry and floral components. Wine itself is light on its feet with a distinct spiciness - cracked pepper and radish really shine through. Over the course of the night the wine evolved into a much different wine that shed its cranberry tones and developed some spritzy fizz. Lots of fun, thanks to Bob for bringing this wine. (90 pts.)