Vintage Report 2011-2015

November 26th, 2015

Harvest/vintage report 2011
Balanced starting of the season, a little later than average with mildew anticipating crop thinning. Perfect picking overall with unusual phenolic maturity, never seen before in the high vineyards. Wines of high concentration as well as elegance, especially for Nerello Mascalese. Our MunJebel Bianco suffered in this vintage with more tannins and less elegance than usual. A great and profound vintage for pure Nerello Mascalese, especially Magma which we were able to pick in perfect moon as well as zodiac position.

Harvest/vintage report 2012
Lots of rain and snow during winter which regenerated the vines. A hailblast between Passopisciaro and Solicchiata before the buts were open resulted in 50% less crop in this area. Early warm weather compensated the late start of the season. A very dry summer accelerated maturity and autumn remained dry. We finished picking very early on October 23rd. Potentially a good to very good vintage, with an excessive “big” touch to all wines as well as exceptional pigment ripeness, although less representative for Etna. Or maybe exactly very much Etna… Especially our red wines will need time as they are incredibly dense. Wines for aging.

Harvest/vintage report 2013
A very dry winter with little snow in the Northern valley. The real winter started early February and compensated the lack of rain we suffered in the autumn and early winter of 2012. A relatively balanced growing season with no big problems, except for lots of vegetation to manage and high crop to reduce during green harvest. While getting out of the summer, we were some 20 days behind in terms of ripeness and this delay was recovered only in the last week of October to early November. Our top red wines, MunJebel® and Magma®, will have an elegance combined with a good to very good structure because of the late harvesting. Our rose Susucaru®, red Contadino and our white MunJebel® Bianco will have elegance and will be more flavour driven compared to the bigger 2011 and 2012 vintages. A very difficult vintage which will result in good to very good+ wines. Wines to drink early due to their fruitiness.

Harvest/vintage report 2014
A balanced growing season without much problems overall. More attention was payed in the vineyards with canopy management done more often and with more attention to avoid direct sunlight. Treatments in the vineyards were done spot-on and the fruit was near-to-perfect. Late summer and autumn was dry and the sugar levels end of September were very high without the balance of acidity and phenolic ripeness. We waited for the rain to come end of October and were able to pick in perfect moon cycle. We took a big risk for the picking as I wanted to harvest all the red grapes in a quick move and we invested a lot of money in new equipment in the cellar for receiving grapes to pull this stunt. The investments payed off and we picked 50.000Kg of grapes in 2,5 days in 8 different vineyards with over 35 pickers… a stunt!
The result are stunning wines with depth, body, precision. The wines are dry, complex and very balanced. I am very happy with the result and especially the decision to invest in better equipment which payed off. With the wines of the 2014 vintage, we stepped into anther level of winemaking.

Harvest/vintage report 2015
A very wet vintage from early in the season, needing double the treatments of a classic Northern valley Etna vintage. 7 treatments all together which is very unusual. Vegetation did not stop and the workload was tremendously intense. In June we suffered in Passopisciaro a hail blast which reduced crop in the Feudo di Mezzo vineyards to 25%. The next day Solicchiata got hammered in the Piano Daini vineyard… Summer was unusual also with some rainfall during August which accelerated photosynthesis of the vines up to the point of reaching maturation for the white grapes already in September, although with less sugar and thus alcohol.
Autumn was complicated with humidity and mould expanding on vineyards with too high crop. As we do every year a kind of crop thinning, picking out the excessive bunches for the rosé, our Nerello was impeccable. Moon cycle was not going to be good, except if waiting until November and this we picked extremely early and finished in a rush, like 2014, all grapes in few days. Again, our cellar equipment allowed us to do this and we finished on October 20th with complete darkness and torches all grapes.
It is difficult to say right now what the wines will be like, although I have the intuition that the wines will be very elegant, expressive, with less body. It will be a vintage to pay attention in the cellar as we have less margin for errors due to the lack of body. Personally I am very, very curious!

Vintage Overviews 2014 & 2015

November 19th, 2015

2014


A balanced growing season without much problems overall. More attention was payed in the vineyards with canopy management done more often and with more attention to avoid direct sunlight. Treatments in the vineyards were done spot-on and the fruit was near-to-perfect. Late summer and autumn was dry and the sugar levels end of September were very high without the balance of acidity and phenolic ripeness. We waited for the rain to come end of October and were able to pick in perfect moon cycle. We took a big risk for the picking as I wanted to harvest all the red grapes in a quick move and we invested a lot of money in new equipment in the cellar for receiving grapes to pull this stunt. The investments payed off and we picked 50.000Kg of grapes in 2,5 days in 8 different vineyards with over 35 pickers… a stunt!
The result are stunning wines with depth, body, precision. The wines are dry, complex and very balanced. I am very happy with the result and especially the decision to invest in better equipment which payed off. With the wines of the 2014 vintage, we stepped into anther level of winemaking.

 

2015

A very wet vintage from early in the season, needing double the treatments of a classic Northern valley Etna vintage. 7 treatments all together which is very unusual. Vegetation did not stop and the workload was tremendously intense. In June we suffered in Passopisciaro a hail blast which reduced crop in the Feudo di Mezzo vineyards to 25%. The next day Solicchiata got hammered in the Piano Daini vineyard… Summer was unusual also with some rainfall during August which accelerated photosynthesis of the vines up to the point of reaching maturation for the white grapes already in September, although with less sugar and thus alcohol.
Autumn was complicated with humidity and mould expanding on vineyards with too high crop. As we do every year a kind of crop thinning, picking out the excessive bunches for the rosé, our Nerello was impeccable. Moon cycle was not going to be good, except if waiting until November and this we picked extremely early and finished in a rush, like 2014, all grapes in few days. Again, our cellar equipment allowed us to do this and we finished on October 20th with complete darkness and torches all grapes.
It is difficult to say right now what the wines will be like, although I have the intuition that the wines will be very elegant, expressive, with less body. It will be a vintage to pay attention in the cellar as we have less margin for errors due to the lack of body. Personally I am very, very curious!

 

Overviews since 2001? – Read Harvest & Vintage overview since 2001

Our Lada Niva unfortunately left us

March 7th, 2014

Lada morta

Our Lada Niva Diesel left us unfortunately, after nearly 10 years of good work. I am a bit sad as I always become emotionally attached to my equipment. Spare parts have become virtually impossible to find and the engine has done it’s job and retired!

Thanks for your help all these years!

Video interviews by Ask a Winemaker

January 25th, 2014

What is Nerello Mascalese?
http://youtu.be/nbrufXy8mAM

What grapes grow on Mt.Etna?
http://youtu.be/H1jVUb95PiA

The vineyards of Mt.Etna
http://youtu.be/usOrUDaW3AU

Frank Cornelissen on natural wine part 1
http://youtu.be/b-WBkUQGOeY

Frank Cornelissen on natural wine part 2
http://youtu.be/ZnpRZAm0USQ

Frank Cornelissen on clarifying natural for the consumer
http://youtu.be/W0AgBWmYpGA

Why make wine in an amphora?
http://youtu.be/vQjHyhiQCC0

Is sulfur needed in winemaking?
http://youtu.be/OW4QUQjIvh4

What is volatile acidity in wine?
http://youtu.be/RU4KiS7ukgo