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Apparently there is a very entertaining video of rapper Action Bronson tasting Susucaru, Frank Cornelissen’s fabulous rosato, and smoking pot. And smoking. And smoking. Or maybe he was smoking in a different video? I haven’t seen it, but it’s clear from his audiences’ response that he loved the wine. The video produced a flood of inquiries, and it’s great that there is a medium for spreading the word outside the normal channels. We love the wine too, with or without accompaniments.
Susucaru is a blend of the white grapes Malvasia, Moscadella, Insolia, and the red Nerello Mascalese. The fruit comes from several vineyards (Picciolo, Pietramarina, Calderara Soprana, Crasà, Muganazze). Over the years Cornelissen has assembled about 22 hectares of old vines, including small parcels in the vineyards mentioned above. The grapes for Susucaru are fermented with about 10 days of skin contact, so it’s not made with standard rose methods, and the result is closer to very light red wine than to chic pale Provençal rose. In the last couple of years Cornelissen has been using what he describes as a very light filtration; there is still no sulfur used in the vines or in the cellar, but he feels the filtration has really helped to stabilize the wines and eliminate the bottle variation that sometimes occurred in the earlier years of his work. However it’s made, it’s delicious – one of my annual favorites, something I really look forward to – one of the treats of the season.
In reference to the food-pairing suggestions in the tasting note below, you may recall that Sicilian food is some of the most varied and diverse of all of Italy – not surprising given the incredible quality and range of local products, which certainly include the best vegetables, the best seafood that I have ever had, and real farm meat that never disappeared in Sicily as in most places. It’s fascinating how local wine so often goes so well with local food, and the best wines from Etna are incredibly good matches with every Sicilian culinary delight I’ve tried them with. In this regard Susucaru kind of drives me crazy: it’s so good with all food that I want to drink it all the time. Jamie Wolff
As always, the 2016 is vibrant, complex, and a great expression of the terroir of Etna. The wine is a fairly deep shade of ruby tinged pink, with aromas that burst from the glass. Vivid wild floral tones mix with notes of sage brush over blood orange juice, yellow peaches, and strawberries on the nose. The palate has some density cut by tart fruit tones of red apple skin and pomegranate, with a whisper of tannin and a stern mineral focus. For me Susucaru is a wine that would suit an endless variety of food. Try it with tuna tartar, Shawarma, Tandoori chicken, sharp cheese, falafel, or a classic greek salad. Andy Paynter