BENANTI, ETNA ROSSO & BIANCO
Why Buy: Benanti continues to turn out wines of careful, hands-on craftsmanship that express their terroir with clarity and soul – and at superlative value. Like the two gorgeous expressions we bring you today, made from 100% native grapes grown at high-elevation and in the sandy, volcanic soils that have generated some of the most ethereal and distinct wines in the world.
What They’re Saying: Micro-regions are the name of the game in Italian wine, and no micro-region is on a greater roll of late than the so-called "island within the island," Mt. Etna. James Suckling last week opined: “the new value area is Mt. Etna.”
The Story: In the late 1980s, at a time when many Italian winemakers were crafting and marketing their Barolos and Barbarescos and Chiantis to the tastes of an international audience, Giuseppe Benanti took a different tack. His unorthodox approach? To draw on indigenous varieties from Etna, such as Carricante, Nerello Mascalese, and Nerello Cappuccio. Today, the operation is in the hands of his sons, Antonio and Salvino, but the commitment to native grapes remains, along with a dedication to retaining their distinct varietal character. All the grapes are hand-harvested and de-stemmed, and fermentation is aided by Benanti’s own indigenous yeast, selected from local vineyards and after countless experimentation in the cellar. Benanti quite simply tastes like nothing else, while also delivering the fullness, richness, and pleasure of the best wines of southern Italy.
The Specs: Three different vineyards – from both the north and south slope of Etna – are represented in the Etna Rosso. The fruit was entirely destemmed, and eighty percent of the Nerello Cappuccio and Mascalese was vinified separately; twenty percent of the Nerello Mascalese was aged in used barrels. The Blanco is 100% Carricante, and taken from 80-year-old vines.
Our Tasting Notes: At less than $26 a bottle, the Rosso is an aromatic marvel: even a novice drinker couldn't fail to pick up on the rich, blooming scent of violets and peonies. On the palate, it's juicy and surprisingly soft, with a light backbone of spice, and the tensile strength that we find (and love) in so many of the best wines of Etna. The aromatics are profound, as well, in the Blanco – orchids, lemon peel, and sea salt, with a subtle wisp of smoke. This is a striking and intense white, a wine to sit with in contemplation, and will be an abiding pleasure to connoisseurs in the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) camp.
Fun Fact: There were only 4 wineries in Mt. Etna in 1988, when second-generation winemaker Giuseppe Benanti embarked on a plan to reinvigorate his father's estate. Today, there are more than 150.
What to Pair Them With: For the Rosso, anything you've got with red sauce (pastas, pizzas), as well as most meats from the grill. The Blanco, meanwhile, seems to have been conceived to bring out the best in any white fish, as well as nearly any preparation of seafood, from the simple (grilled shrimp) to the deeply sauced.
Our Guarantee: We always buy and source direct, so rest assured: your wines will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Order yours today!
*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Fall 2023. With the supply chain issues that we are seeing globally, there may be some unforeseen delays which could affect the ETA. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in MI, NC, NY, or TN. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Thursday, July 6, 2023.
*Due to limited storage space for pre-ordered product, we can only hold orders for 30 days from the first notification that your order is ready for pickup. If you are unable to pick up your order within 30 days, please contact Concierge Sales at (855) 841-2752 or email@example.com to make an arrangement. A store associate may reach out periodically to notify you of your order. Unfortunately, if no arrangements have been made, after 30 days, the order will need to be cancelled and we will provide a full refund. No orders will be cancelled without multiple communication attempts.