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Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Rosso 2020 (750ML)

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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

97 JS / 93 VM

#22 James Suckling's Top 100 Italian Wines of 2022

What a wonderful red, with so much depth, softness and texture, offering red fruit, as well as dried lemon leaf and fresh basil. Layered, round and energetic. It’s delivers complexity with integrity. From organically grown grapes. No sulfites added. Drink or hold. - James Suckling

Almost as if lava stones and ash could be infused with raspberry and black cherry preserves, and then brushed with grilled sage and, finally, add a burst of white pepper–the 2020 Nerello Mascalese Munjebel Rosso bursts from the glass. This feels more like juice than wine with its energy and verve, yet it’s potent all the same, with silken textures excited by reverberating acidity, and saturating ripe red fruits that seem to sizzle upon the palate. It leaves a dry staining on concentration and gentle tannins, but also a flourish of inner sweetness to balance it all out, as rosy inner florals fade. The 2020 is a simply stunning and wickedly fresh Nerello Mascalese. Munjebel is a blend of fruit from Frank Cornelissen’s vineyards across the northern valley of Etna.- Eric Guido, Vinous Media

Frank Cornelissen arrived on Mount Etna in 2001 at the head of a small handful of producers who would go on to make this region famous, but fame was never his intention. The goal throughout the twenty-four hectares of Cornelissen vineyards and in the winery was to create an entirely holistic approach of capturing a snapshot of the natural ecosystem and biodiversity of Mount Etna within each bottle. This approach prohibits the use of any chemical fertilizer or pesticide in the vineyards. Only in the most difficult vintages will copper sulphate and sulfur be used, and only to prevent a complete loss of fruit. Yields are drastically reduced and harvests are completed late throughout all Munjebel, Frank Cornelissen’s single contrade or Crus, which are located in the northern valley of Mount Etna. The vineyards, many of which contain extremely old alberello or bush-trained vines, are between 600 to 1,000 meters in elevation, planted in a diverse mix of soils formed through thousands of years of volcanic activity on the Etna. In the winery, the focus is to add nothing, yet take nothing away. Fermentations start spontaneously and are completed in neutral tubs which naturally keep temperatures low. For the more structured wines, they are refined in epoxy-coated terracotta, buried up to their necks in volcanic soil. Most fans of wines from Etna have all heard this story, but if they never experienced the results, then it’s impossible to truly understand what Frank Cornelissen has accomplished. Throughout the area, there are many producers that are now turning out world-class wines, but finding one that obtains such depth of texture, the unique character of fruit aromas and flavors, and with the potential to mature evenly in a cellar, without the use of any winemaking wizardry, is not easy to do. Granted, these wines are extremely vintage-dependent, which they should be. At the top the wines can also be cost prohibitive, yet the entry-level Susucaru is a wonderful introduction to the house style. Also, readers should note that if mishandled or not stored correctly, these wines are likely to be adversely affected much quicker than other wines - but that is the price for experiencing the purity of Mount Etna; because in the end, that’s what Frank Cornelissen is bottling. - Eric Guido, Vinous Media

A rich and fragrant wine of pure Nerello Mascalese from different vineyards, partly from our best parcels where we produce our crus (Zottorinoto-Chiusa Spagnolo, Feudo di Mezzo-Porcaria, Pontale Palino) as well as designated vineyards for this specific wine (Rampante, Piano Daini and Crasà). A classic, traditional Nerello Mascalese with tannins and sweetness of ripe fruit. My vision of a traditional, balanced and rich Northern Valley Etna wine. - winery

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