2014 Ciro Biondi 'Cisterna Fuori' Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy

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2014 Ciro Biondi 'Cisterna Fuori' Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy

The Biondis farm three main vineyards; Chianta, San Nicolo and Cisterna Fuori which are planted on the south-east slope of Mount Etna. Cisterna Fuori ('Outside Tank') has been in the family for centuries and winemaker, Ciro Biondi and his wife Stef, were married in the middle of the vineyard in 2004. Planted primarily to Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, it is situated at 700 meters, or 2,300 feet above sea level, with such steep slopes that stone terrace walls had to be built in order to farm the vines. The volcanic soil is especially rich in iron which comes through to the wines in a fascinating way.

Ciro makes wines of elegance and finesse that can sometimes be a little taught at first. However, this 2014, which is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio, is opening up to a very friendly stage with generous red fruit flavors, terrific vibrancy from the bright acidity and that wonderful volcanic/iron minerality. It's a wine to enjoy now and to keep some back for aging in the cellar - four to five years down the line will reveal even greater texture and polish. This is a complex, captivating wine to be savored and appreciated now and in years to come.

Ciro Biondi is considered to be one of the top producers on Mt. Etna, the still active volcano in the north-eastern corner of Sicily. And that only makes sense since the Biondi family has been farming grapes on the southern slope of the volcano since 1693. The Biondi winery was started at the end of the 1800s and was a consistent winner of medals and accolades at international wine fairs and exhibits through the early 1900s. The aftermath of WWII led to a major decline in the family business and it wasn't until Ciro and his wife, Stefanie, started the operation anew in 1999 that the Biondi name regained its importance in the Sicilian wine industry.

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