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LA MORANDINA

Piedmont, IT


An extraordinary family and estate, centuries in development, with Barbera vines well over 100 years of age and some of the oldest, best and most distinctive Moscato vineyards in Piedmont. A visit with the chisel-jawed Guilio Morando is one of the most charming in Italy. His estate is almost entirely sustained by the solar and heat energy generated and captured in the day to day running of the winery. 

La Morandina’s terroir is superlative and incredibly idiosyncratic. In this estate strict organic practices have been utilized for over 30 years, in fact only natural manure and compost are used. Leguminous plants are sown between the rows and biological control is normally used against pests. Furthermore, Giulio and Paolo Morando closely collaborate with the University of Turin, where their uncle Albino has taught viticulture for many years, and a considerable amount of research work is carried out at the La Morandina vineyards and winery. 

The estate offers a wonderful Barbera d’Asti, from some very old vines: husky and riddled with spice, these are pure examples of this rich soil, originating from the Miocene Epoch during which the Alps continued rising from the sea (fossilized shells can still be found in the ground). A classic example of traditional wines made with modern thinking, the essence of La Morandina. 


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2016 Fessina Etna Bianco 'Erse'

Etna, Sicily, IT

Erse is the blended Etna Bianco from Fessina, though this vintage carries a little less cattaratto than previously, meaning it's led by the Etnean native Carricante, and it shows. This is led by its minerals, all about the fresh acidity and the vibrant citrus fruits while belying its origins of Etna's Eastern part with a classic salty twang

90% Carricante, 10% Catarratto & Minella, from the Cavaliere, Caselle, Rinazzo, and Volpare vineyards in Milo (Eastern Etna), 900-1000m ASL, 9 months in stainless, 3 months in bottle before release, diam

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2015 Fessina Etna Bianco 'A'Puddara'

Etna, Sicily, IT

A’Puddara is a unique vineyard, not quite the highest of Fessina’s Carricante vineyards but the most sheltered, and not quite the oldest vines but the most productive. Year after year, it has produced mesmerising wines which compete with the best being made anywhere else in Italy. My notes about this vintage are much less about the fruit than those from the publications (more savoury, herbaceous and salty), however I did believe that the 2015 was all the better for it.

100% Carricante from the 100 y/o A’Puddara vineyard in Milo (Southern Etna), 900m ASL, 48 hours on skins, ferment and ageing in used French Oak botti for 12 months, bottle for 6 months before release, 6,000 bottles made, cork

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2015 Fessina Etna Rosato 'Erse'

Etna, Sicily, IT

Following somewhat of an obsession for rosé wines worldwide, it made sense that the replantings and new vineyards at Fessina would be used to craft a rosé from Etna. Although the DOC law states that solely red grapes are allowed, I have it on good authority that a good portion of the blend is Carricante (shh), and although this is completely unofficial, it does create a compelling reason as to why this should be the norm. This is not only a good Etna Rosato, it is one of the finest young Etna wines you will taste…

85% Nerello Mascalese, 15% Nerello Cappuccio from Rovitello (Northern Etna), 670m ASL, saignee, ferment and ageing in stainless steel for 6 months, bottle for 6 months before release, 3,200 bottles made, diam

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2015 Fessina Etna Rosso 'Erse'

Etna, Sicily, IT

A masterpiece of Etnean winemaking, one of those rare wines which is able to show power and elegance all wrapped up in a red-fruited box. This is Nerello Mascalese at its finest, its rawest (stainless steel only) and its most versatile. I think you could drink this with just about anything, or nothing at all

85% Nerello Mascalese, 15% Nerello Cappuccio from Rovitello (Northern Etna), 750m ASL, 10 days on skins, ferment and ageing in stainless steel for 12 months, bottle for 6 months before release, diam

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2011 Fessina Etna Rosso 'Il Musmeci'

Etna, Sicily, IT

2011 was a wonderful vintage for Etna. In many ways it reflected the vintages had in other parts of Italy but was punctuated with some excellent rainfall in September before the fruit was fully ripened. This was especially good for the Nerello Mascalese, which is harvested closer to the end of October, and it instilled freshness and life into the grapes which were ripening fairly quickly. Il Musmeci is not only the reserve wine of Tenuta di Fessina, but undoubtedly one of the most serious Etna Rosso wines produced by anyone in the area. It sits in a gorgeous middle ground (weight, perfume and structure-wise) between Barbaresco and Burgundy, with its own Etnean qualities layered on for good measure. I would happily show this in any tasting of the world’s great red wines

100% Nerello Mascalese from the 110 y/o Musmeci vineyard, Rovitello (Northern Etna), 790m ASL, 14 days on skins, ferment and ageing in French Oak barrique and Slavonian Botti for 18 months, bottle for 12 months before release, 10,000 bottles made, cork

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2014 Fessina Nero d'Avola 'Ero'

Noto, Sicily, IT

While recognition continues to grow for the volcano wines, Sicilian wine’s reputation has been largely built off the native Nero d’Avola. In complete contrast to Nerello Mascalese which prefers a long, slow growing season in the cooler, higher altitude parts, Nero d’Avola’s home is the coastal town of Avola and its surrounding denominations. The fruit for this pristine example comes from Fessina’s own vineyard in Val di Noto, on the South-Eastern Sicilian coast at next to no altitude, right by the sea. Dry grown bush vines in sparse, sandy soil give birth to fragrant, perfumed Nero d’Avola that reflects the elegance of the Etna reds of this estate but with a chubbier fruit weight and slipperier tannin profile. Regardless, this will change your attitude to Nero in the best way possible

100% Nero d’Avola from Noto (Southern Sicily), 40-50m ASL, 14 days on skins, ferment and ageing in stainless steel for 12 months, bottle for 6 months before release, diam