On the wine geekiness scale, the Alta Mora 2014 Rosso ranks high. Made from a decidedly geeky, native grape called Nerello Mascalese, and grown on the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily, this robust, well-made red wine checks all the boxes for one-upmanship at a bring-your-own party. The Cusumano family owns this winery, two brothers with balls enough to plant a vineyard very near an active volcano. The largest active volcano in Europe. Yep — hope they’re insured.
The name “Alta Mora” translates to “tall, black,” paying homage to the height of the volcano and its almost black, fertile soils. And this rugged terroir shines through in every sip. It’s like a light-hearted Pinot, a fruit-driven, high-acid Chianti and the tannins of a Merlot had a baby. Blackberry, sour cherry, black pepper, strong brewed tea, earthy and dusty oak tannins define this elegant creature.
Alta Mora 2014 Rosso Mt. Etna Sicily
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Price: $20 – $25
Occasion: Enjoyed with a grilled steak one night in front of the TV. Classy, huh? Sample sent from winery.
Availability: Might be tough to find — high-end wine shops mostly.
Food Pairings: Red meat! But also fine drinking all by itself. Recipe pairings: Dilled Pork Stroganoff, Rosemary Scented Lentils, Slow Cooker Beef Stew