Tenuta di Aglaea Thalia Etna Rosso 2015
1 or more bottles$64.99
Gary Walsh88 points
Thalia is a word of Sicilian dialect and resembles ‘look’ as in ‘look there!’ It is also the name of one of the Three Graces in ancient Greek history.
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- Red Meat
Critic Scores & reviews
"I’ve had this floating about for quite some time, but see it’s still available for sale. Importer: Beaune & Beyond. There’s a bit of nutty/caramel/coconut oak, which I find kind of distracting in Nerello Mascalese, though moving past that red fruit, mint, grainy tannin, certainly that ‘volcanic’ feel you get from Etna, and a dry and dusty finish of decent length."
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Italy has some of the oldest wine production methods in the world and almost every part of the country is planted under vine. From the Alps in the north to the very southernmost parts of Sicily where Africa is almost in sight, wine is successfully cultivated. In addition to the latitude covered, Italy's many mountains and hills provide a plethora of altitudes for grape growing in various soils and micro-climates. The extensive coastlines along the peninsula that is Italy provide maritime climates for the coastal wine-growing areas. Over 350 grape varieties are 'authorised' in Italy, though up to 550 varieties are thought to be grown.
The classification system of Italian wines has four classes, with the intention of defining a wine's origin a quality. Two of these classes are table wines, whilst DOC and DOCG fall under the EU quality wine produced in a specific region category. Vino da Tavola (VDT) means that the wine comes from Italy. Most of these wines are generally basic table wines that are consumed domestically. Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) denotes a more specific region within Italy, and the resultant will be of higher quality than simple table wines, but won't conform to the rules required for higher certification. Both Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) are regionally more specific than IGT, and have stricter rules regarding the grape varieties grown, yields per hectare, minimum alcohol levels and so on. The major difference between DOC and DOCG is that the latter has to undergo a blind-tasting session to ensure the highest quality is achieved. Italy has 32 DOCG appelations, 311 DOC appelations and 120 IGT zones.
Key regions include Piedmont, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Veneto, Sicily and Sardinia. Common white varieties grown are Pinot Grigio, Arneis, Vermentino, Verdicchio, Fiano and Moscato. The red varieties grown the most are Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Primitivo, Nero d'Avola and Corvina.
According to Greek legend, the god of wine Dionysus was the first to have planted a vineyard in Sicily; kick-starting the viticulture of the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It's one of the biggest wine-producing regions in Italy with Veneto and Emilio Romagna the only two Italian regions that produce more. In all, the island has an impressive 134,000 hectares under vine although this area is shrinking year by year. This region produces a wide range of wines, both table and dessert wines and the grapes most famously grown there are the Nero d’Avola and Catorrato varietals. Nerello Mascalese is used to make the Etna Rosso DOC wine from the volcanic Mt Etna and Frappato is a the main grape of the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG.
Sicily is blessed with the most favourable climate. The summers are hot and it hardly rains, and the winters are not that cold and frost is rare. The Mediterranean climate is ideal for growing wine grapes as the coastal winds drying out grapes overnight. Because of the warm and relatively dry climate, there are less risk of rot and mildew among the grapes, so chemical sprays are rarely used. The soil of Sicily is rocky and enriched with minerals that absorb the heat during the day and release it at night, which helps the grapevines maintain an even temperature while the air around it gets cooler.
The wine region of Etna is located in the northeastern province of Catania, Sicily. It is also located near the biggest active volcano in Europe Mt Etna. According to ancient Greek mythology, homegrown wine of this area was said to have enchanting powers for healing, relaxation and amusement. Situated in the northern, southern and eastern slopes of the volcano, at an altitude of 450 to 1100 above sea level, the wines produced from this area creates a harmonious blend of tastes like no other which makes it no surprise that the region of Etna has been receiving a lot of keen attention of wine critics and wine lovers over the past few years. Certain examples are incredible wines, that could come from no other place than the sandy, volcanic (and thus very fertile) soils around the volcano. The Etna DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) was first established in 1968, making it the first region in Sicily to receive the honor.
The climate of this volcanic region is with almost no rainfall in the summer but can be quite wet during the winter and autumn periods. The soil of Etna is volcanic, made up of lava, ashes and sand. This helps provide ample amounts of minerals and nutrients in the soils such as iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and others. The ruby colored red wines from this region are mostly blends of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio and the whites are produced from Carricante and Catarratto grapes.
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