Girolamo Russo, Etna Rosso (Sicily, Italy) “‘a Rina” 2020

($34):  This looks like a Rosé in the glass, but fortunately it displays enormous character and complexity, so you know it’s not a rosé.  Girolamo Russo, one of Etna’s top producers, makes a range of terrific wines from that mountain.  This one, ‘a Rina, is a blend, and could be considered his “basic” — though there’s nothing basic about it — wine.  Its pale color comes from the pale skinned Nerello Mascalese grape, the hallmark of Etna’s reds, from which it comes.  The wine’s complexity and captivating floral intrigue also comes from Nerello Mascalese grown on Etna’s lava enriched soil and Russo’s talents.  You feel the lava-tinged minerality on the palate, amplified by saline-like acidity.  Though light in body, its firmness and cutting edginess means it goes well with a wide variety of dishes, from light appetizers to robust seafood in a tomato sauce to grilled tuna.
93 Michael Apstein Feb 27, 2024