Here we are guys, first cab (not Cabernet) off the rank and we are leading with something that we think everyone can enjoy. It is a wine we have been drinking all summer at barbecues and beaches. Note, this is not a cellaring wine, but a delicious, light, salty and dry Rosato that needs to be in your fridge until the cooler months of winter hit. It is off the beaten track, as we promise to deliver, and it is from a pedigree producer from one of the most exciting and up and coming regions in the world. Etna!
Cottanera is owned by the Cambria family and operated by three siblings Francesco, Mariangela and Emanuele along with their uncle Enzo. The siblings grandfather Francesco Cambria had planted the vineyard in 1962 after a career farming and trading hazelnuts (smart career move Francesco... RIP). Francesco passed it to his son Guglielmo who was a talented and thoughtful vigneron. This transition saw the farming, yields and wine quality of Cottanera increase dramatically. Sadly, Guglielmo passed in 2008 and it is now on to the third generation to manage the family business.
The 65 hectares of vineyards are planted on the southern slopes of Mt. Etna in the north-east corner of Sicily, at an altitude of 700 metres (akin to Macedon, Victoria). The soil is a lava-rich volcanic rock which allows native varieties such as Nerello Mascalese to shine. Nerello is a variety growing in popularity among sommeliers in Australia and the US for its juicy, smoky, mineral and lithe textured wines. Cottanera use Nero Mascalese for its Rosato and it works so well. It is light in colour a la the French versions from Provence, though with some distinct tart red berries, citrus peel and signature volcanic smokiness that often comes through in good Etna wines. Ultimately the wine is clean, dry and refreshing, though expresses it's unique place and climate.
For those that want proof in numbers, Italian expert James Suckling awarded the 2017 vintage 92 points, describing the wine as a "tangy and fruity rosato that is also fresh and lively. Dried peaches, cherries and pumice undertones. Pretty as always".
It's a delicious every day wine. Think Italian ingredients, olives, oils, late summer tomatoes and grilled squid or octopus. Drink now, serve chilled and please... no ice.