2020 Frank Cornelissen Susucaru Rosso Etna DOC (fka Contadino)
*ONE BOTTLE PER PERSON, PLEASE!*
Region: Mt. Etna < Sicily < Italy
Grapes: Field blend of Nerello Mascalese (85%) + Nerello Capuccio, Minella Nera, Allicante Bouschet, Minella Bianco
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Beyond organic/biodynamic hands-off farming; volcanic soil; full skin contact for texture and territorial identity, Grapes are destemmed and lightly crushed before a 60-day skin fermentation with indigenous in neutral epoxy tanks; bottled unfined with light filtration and zero-added So2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Frank Cornelissen
NEW VINTAGE! Susucaru Rosso (fka Contadino) is Frank’s field blend of mostly Nerello Mascalese (85%) with other local varieties, red and white, from all of his old vine vineyards. And if you’re into natural wine, you’ve probably heard of Frank and his legendary Susucaru, which he now does in a rosso and rosato (not yet released). But you’ve likely never tried any of his wines, because over the past few years they've become impossible to find. These wines from Sicily’s Mount Etna weren’t on anybody’s radar until Action Bronson (New York chef-turned-rapper who’s with a foodie show on Viceland called “F*ck That’s Delicious”) came along and waxed poetic after discovering the rosato at a restaurant in Sydney: “I been waiting for this Susucaru all my life. I love this one.” Then it blew up, going from unknown to top 20 most-searched-for wines on Wine Searcher almost instantly.
Made by Belgian Frank Cornelissen, a fierce supporter of low-intervention winemaking, who farms his 64 volcanic acres in a totally minimalist way. As in, he even considers biodynamics too interventionist. He lets the vines grow as they wish, untrained, allowing Mother Earth “in her various energetic and cosmic passages to lead the way, instead of deciding and imposing ourselves”, he explains. The approach is similar in the cellar, where he never adds or removes anything, and just lets the juice and natural yeasts do their things. But don't describe his work as natural - he's not on that trendy bandwagon. He prefers to describe his wines as "non-interventionist".
Like Etna herself, there is raw, unpredictable energy in the wine, which is radically alive, electric and super sexy. Vivid, wild floral tones mix with notes of Campari and tart red berries, underlined by flinty, smoky minerality. F*ck That’s Delicious! You’re right Action, you’re so right. But did you have to F*ck it up for the rest of us? Couldn’t we have kept Frank and his Susucaru our dirty little secret?? Sigh…
Now that you’re salivating and thinking “I NEED this wine!”, I must crush your soul and tell you it is extremely limited. Since Action shared his love for it, demand has gone through the roof, and now it is super allocated. This year we got a whopping 3 cases!