Etna Rosso DOC wines are never particularly cheap – the DOC regulations require hand harvesting, no irrigation, high altitude vineyards. That this Cottanera retails for only around a tenner is therefore miraculous. It is seriously structured, smoky, with a tiny hint of mocha and a bit of liquorice on the finish. A great introduction to Etna Rosso.
Nerello Mascalese can suffer from a lack of “stuffing”, particularly as it ages. Cottanera have created a blend with 15% of international varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot), which definitely adds fruit and richness to this easy-going cuvee. The fruit is leathery, backed up by taut tannins, and there’s an enticing spicy, vegetal note to the nose. Barrique aging has been well judged to round out the palate, without dominating it.