This 2018 Etna Rosso is a cuvée Girolamo Russo calls, “A’ Rina” named after his mother, and is 100% Nerello Mascalese. It is very generous and almost plump for an Etna Rosso with exciting aromas and flavors of wild plum, pepper and tarragon followed by refreshingly crisp acidity on the finish. Food is often required to pair with Etna Rosso but this wine drinks just fine on its own with an easy going texture and appealing, tasty fruit. Girolamo Russo is a classically trained pianist who was almost done writing a book on Wagner’s music featured in the 1972 film Ludwig by Luchino Visconti, when his father tragically died of a sudden heart attack while tending his vines on Mount Etna. Girolamo had to decide whether to sell the vineyards or take them over himself. It was 2003 and his town of Passopisciaro was becoming known for growing some of the best Nerello Mascalese on Mount Etna, so he chose to become a farmer. By 2005, he converted his family’s old vineyards (some vines date back 100 years) to organic farming. Today, he tends a total of 15 hectares, using the fruit from the oldest 7 hectares for his 2,000 case-production and selling the fruit from the other younger 8 hectares to others in the area. In such a short time, Girolamo has gained a reputation for being one of the finest growers and winemakers in Etna and he apparently doesn’t miss playing the piano or his former intellectual life.