On the occasion of Marco de Grazia's (owner and founder of Terre Nere) visit in Athens, Yiannis grabs the opportunity to ''interrogate'' him about Terre Nere, Nerello Mascalese and the future of Etna. These profound wines are now available in Greece through Mr. Vertigo.
Marco what is the typicity of Etna wines, if it exists?
It is like saying what is the typicity for Burgundy and this is impossible to say for the variations are so many, There is however a family sensation for wines from Burgundy and Piemonte but that doesn't mean they taste the same. If you taste them next to each other, flavours are not the same but their character is so alike. They look like brothers and you know when you see brothers. you can tell there is a family sensation.
Do you see a connection with Etna as well?
Yes! Some remind more of Burgundy while others more of Barolo and Barbaresco. For example, Santo Spirito and Guardiola lean more to Burgundy while Feudo di Mezzo and Calderara Sottana they remind me more of Piemonte
How did you manage to include the Etna crus in the Italian legislation? Was it very hard?
It was hard to make the map. I did a part of that and proposed the crus legislation in the Ministry 3 years ago. It was hard to make but not to persuade them. This is very new and we aim to have a format in an application this year.
How many years a good Etna can age?
You ll see, Guardiola 2005 is at this moment sublime.
Where do you see Etna in 5 years?
I see a bright future, quality is improving and we are learning also the whites. Now there are 70 producers that bottle wine compared to 40, 2 years ago. So, I am very optimistic...
Do you see a trend for Etna in the international markets?
Yes! USA is big but everywhere we are managing well. USA is the first and then is Japan and Europe especially France, Luxembourg and Belgium.
Does a modern and a traditional style exist in Etna wines?
Not really. There are different styles but not these.
How much new oak you use for your wines?
15% is the maximum for us. It would be stupid if someone uses 100%. I hope no ones does that...
I admire the efforts of Cornelissen of doing something - called unofficially authentic - and doing things like centuries ago. Can this apply to Nerelo Mascalese?
Frank has changed so much for Etna in a good way and has helped the wines' expression. He is very much quality driven in his own way and this is very important.
What about Greek wines?
I love reds from Naoussa and the wines from Santorini, whites and reds
Which wines do you enjoy the most?
When I don't drink my wines, I go for simple wines from great producers in Burgundy like Rousseau, Lafarge, Mugnier.
Thank you so much