Frank Cornelissen, explaining everything

A Banquet with Frank Cornelissen!

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Frank Cornelissen is coming back to NY (after a year off from his typically grueling US itineraries) and will regale us at a Chinese banquet with tales of life under the volcano. More importantly we will taste all of Frank’s recent production, including a new single-vineyard wine (the 4th in the lineup) called Feudo di Mezzo, and the famous Magma (now $250 per bottle at retail). This is a food + wine combo that we’ve tested in the past with great results. Said Chinese banquet will be held on Thursday, March 8th, at the superb Wu’s Wonton King; the bottom line is more delicious Chinese food and Sicilian wine than seems possible for $120 per person, including tax and service.

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Cornelissen, Frank 2016 Terre Siciliane Rosso (Etna) Contadino

Cornelissen’s Contadino cuvee is a reference back to wines made on Mount Etna, before the modern influx of money and attention took over the mountain (and the whole of Sicily).  Contadino (meaning farmer, or peasant), is a blend of both red and white grapes based on Nerello Mascalese, but also containing Nerello Cappuccio, Minella Nera, Alicante, and Minella Bianco.  The wine making is simple: the grapes are very gently crushed and macerated on the skins for around 2 months and then bottled only lightly filtered with no added sulfur. The wine has a delicate ruby red color that could be mistaken for more deeply colored rosato and is wildly fragrant with bright cherries and raspberries, rose and violet floral tones, Mediterranean herbs, and an unmistakable note of ripe orange peel. It is light and juicy with only a bit of tannin and plenty of acidity; rather than simple, it is refreshing, with layers of juicy red fruit, stony mineral tones, sagebrush, more citrus zest, and a very clean finish. Certainly one of the best vintages of Contadino that I have had a chance to taste, this wine is not to be missed.  Try it lightly chilled this summer with anything from grilled fish, burgers and sausages, briney or fresh cheese, or summer salads. Andy Paynter

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