Mt. Etna Wines (Crash Course Please!)

Recently had a great Etna Rosso, and I’m determined to learn more about the region and the wines.

What are the basics I need to know. What are some of the top wines? What are the good vintages in the last decade or so?

I’ll be following this with great intrigue. Thanks for starting this!

What I can add is that – likewise – I recently had very nice Rosso QPR(see image). Straight through the wine you could see the cutting below. The wine was composed of 90% Nerello Mascalese & 10% Nerello Cappuccio.

There’s a verve to many of them in the sense that many have great tension – perhaps because the grapes, themselves, have to grapple with the oft times tenuous elements about them. And, while others will chime in, I’m nearly certain that the transparency of color of the wine gets informed by the sandy, volcanic soils from which the vines produce their grapes. Although, Nerello Mascalese, widely planted in Etna, doesn’t really get – to my knowledge – inky, rather the juice could give one the impression of blood orange. But, like anything wine related or otherwise, the region of Etna can’t be painted with a broad brush.

All the best,


The Tenuta delle Terre Nere wines are a good place to start and are pretty widely available. The property is owned by Marco di Grazia, who as a middle-man was instrumental in pushing the most modern style of Barolo. The single vineyard Terre Nere wines see some barrique, but the oak is not apparent, and the terroirs of the individual vineyards show through very strongly.

These wines remind me of nebbiolo-based wines from a warm climate. They have substantial tannin (sometimes nebbiolo-like) and acid, but they’re light in color and they’re fresh. They seem to age quite well, and they’re pretty affordable.

The plain Etna Rosso isn’t bad, but its a far cry from the cru bottlings.

I’ve also drunk a lot of the Romeo e Castello Allegracore, which is a lovely wine.

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Passopiciaro from Andrea Franchetti (
The whole range is great, including the base Passopiciaro, which is Nerello Mascalese blended from all of their vineyards.

Search wine talk, there’s a few extensive threads.