The Carricante grapes for the Etna Bianco Contrada Calderara come from 45 years old vineyards in the Calderara contrada, one of Etna’s most highly regarded Cru. The soil in this vineyard is a mixture of black pumice and basalt, the result of thousands of years of lava flows and volcanic deposits and enhances the typical minerality of the Carricante variety. Welcoming perfumes of lemon flowers, elderflower, chamomile, bergamot, sage and fresh oregano are intertwined with white peach and yellow plum. A saline vitality explodes on the palate, enhancing the wine’s supple body. This is undoubtedly a white wine destined for ageing.
The Cottanera 2018 Etna Bianco Contrada Calderara is hitting prime drinking right now with perfumed notes of peach and orange peel, backed by candied almond and creamy custard. The Carricante grape is not normally this plush, soft and aromatic, but the Calderara is a special and deeply attractive wine. Some 40% of the total is fermented in oak and the wine is partially aged on the lees. These steps serve to further flesh out the wine's texture and volume. I especially love those glossy notes of latex or natural rubber. The wine is idea for a baked, flaky white fish. The finish shows medium length, but the power of the bouquet makes up for it.
Pale straw yellow. Aromas and flavors of field herbs, white flowers, nectarine and balsamic oils. Rich and dense on entry, but lifted thanks to harmonious lively acidity. This finishes long and saline. Still an infant, give this another couple of years in the cellar to let it develop fully.
Vivid straw with golden highlights. Very lemony fresh aromas of apple and pear, lifted by white flowers. Then juicy, deep and quite serious with a very strong lemon and mieral presence, offering lingering white peach nuances on the back end. This will likely develop slowly and blossom in about two years from now. Best white from Cottanera I have ever tried.
The single-vineyard 2016 Etna Bianco Contrada Calderara is indeed characterized by a more robust and structured flavor profile. The bouquet offers stone fruit, pineapple and Golden Delicious apple. This white wine also offers a broad and lasting sense of texture and volume. The vines are 40 years old and more, and the wine is partially oak fermented. Some 5,600 bottles were produced.
Pale yellow. Reticent nose hints at bright stone fruit and minerals. Precise, tight and dense, without any undue weight, this shows outstanding inner-mouth tension, fine-grained texture and strong salinity. A beautifully balanced, energetic wine with a very long, focused finish. Made with 100% Carricante; the 40-45 year old vines grow in the Calderara vineyard near Feudo di Mezzo that has a volcanic, sand and gravel-rich soil. This is aged in 15 hL barrels, while the 2014 was aged in tonneaux; winemaker Lorenzo Landi told me he believes this wine requires a bit more oxygenation to showcase all it’s got to offer and that’s the reason he opted to use large oak barrels as an aging vessel.
The 2015 Etna Bianco Contrada Calderara is a pristine and mineral-driven wine that really underlines why I have such high hope for this diminutive wine region at the heart of the Mediterranean. This wine manages to feel weightless and buoyant, but it sticks to the palate with crispness and persistence at the same time. This single-vineyard expression of partially oak-aged Carricante delivers pedigree and accessibility. The finish is laced with marine salt, ash and elegant touches of flint
A pure expression of Carricante, the 2014 Etna Bianco Contrada Calderara is partially fermented in oak (40% of the mass). The rest is fermented in cement vats. Part of the wine ages on the lees in oak barrel. This sophisticated approach adds lots of inner depth and dimension to this versatile white grape that produces such a beautiful results in volcanic soils. The wine is balanced and bright, with a long succession of stone fruit, cantaloupe melon and chopped almond aromas. This Etna Bianco is very well balanced and is a delight to drink. Pretty mineral tones add focus and sharpness to the finish. Only 5,600 bottles were produced.
Bright straw. Minty aromas of grapefruit, minerals and ginger are complicated by a note of white pepper. Brisk and stony on entry, then austere and linear in the middle but with terrific lift to the intense grapefruit, white stones fruit and crushed rock flavors. Finishes tactile, but with just the slightest hint of a green streak, which keeps my score lower than it might have been. If it resolves over time, then my score will look ungenerous. From 40-year-old Carricante vines, this is partially barrel-fermented and spends 12 months on the lees.