October 13, 2020
NEW Vintage Release: The Elusive 2018 Debut from GAJA and Sicily’s Indigenous Nerello Mascalese and the Volcanic Slopes of Mt Etna. Discover These Wines of Burgundian Elegance at $49.94!
“The Etna boasts two reference point producers and a number of emerging growers. Along with Andrea Franchetti, proprietor Marco de Grazia (Tenuta delle Terre Nerre) continues to make compelling wines that set the standard for the Etna.” - Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Back in July you heard us scream about the 2017 release! We noted, there’s a new sheriff on the Island of Sicilia and there a few names that should be added to this statement above – Angelo GAJA has now joined forces with one of the region’s respected icons Alberto Graci of Graci and more eyeballs than ever are turning on the terroir-driven wines of Mount Etna. We preached about the exciting and ancient wines of the region and what GAJA had to add to the winning formula of terroir and indigenous varietals. It was a worldwide first taste of the Piemonte Maestro from Sicily’s explosive terroir that SOLD OUT with three different tranches.
Well, we have GREAT NEWS TO REPORT, the IWM Team just tasted the NEW RELEASES of the 2019 IDDA Bianco Sicilia and the 2018 IDDA Etna Rosso. Less than 100 cases are arriving in the U.S. and the elusive wine will only be available via a handful of merchants throughout the country. In fact, for the 2019 IDDA Bianco Sicilia it is the FIRST EVER release reach American soils, as for the 2018 IDDA Etna Rosso, we simply believe the new vintage expression captures a more authentic and rustic side of Siciliy’s Nerello Mascalesse, with qualities more akin to Barolo than Burgundy. There is no doubt about it, this is the more serious release with more structure to the wine than the inaugural release of 2017.
For Italian Wine Merchants it is simply difficult not to be attracted to GAJA, but more importantly Italy’s wealth of antique varietals that are capable of transporting enthusiasts to Italy with one stunning sip delivered with unrivalled value. It is not surprising that the ancient Greeks called Italy Oenotria, “land of vines.” One such vine or grape that would have appealed to them is certainly Sicily’s Nerello Mascalese from the high altitudes and volcanic slopes of Mount Etna. If you follow Italian wines, you probably have heard comparisons of this grape to Burgundian Pinot Noir and a young Barolo. There is some truth to the statement, many of the expressions are high-toned often translucent in the glass with juicy and inviting red fruit, herbaceous and mineral undertones, supported by firm tannins and refreshing acidity. With the 2018, we see a more structured and masculine expression
At $49.94 for each the Rosso and Bianco and the best price in the country, these are wines that will undoubtedly start conversations – rare and tremendous crowd-pleasers. And that is before you even say the four-letter word – GAJA. Grab these today, as these wines are extremely limited and allocated – like the prior release we expect these to sell out before they arrive in November.
Featured Wines: Debut from GAJA and Sicily’s Noble Varietal
Well, 2018 marks just the second vintage release for IDDA. The Gaja and Graci’s joint venture marks the third effort outside of Piemonte for the Mister Barbaresco. As for Alberto Graci, you will recognize his name from the IWM shelf and as one of the most acclaimed and talented wine growers in Sicily. Gaja & Graci effort on the southern slope of Etna is a marriage of one person’s deep knowledge of Sicily’s terroir and another’s experience with Italy’s most noble varietals. “Idda” (ee-duh) means “she” in the Sicilian dialect, which is a term of endearment and expression of awe with which Sicilians refer to Mt. Etna. For the people of Sicily, Etna is more than a mountain; it is a breathing being with her own identity and personality, a quick-tempered, capricious, yet maternal and protective mother on whom they depend on each day.
Additional Notes and Reviews
“The Etna is one of Italy's most fascinating emerging wine regions. High altitude vineyards, volcanic soils, ancient indigenous grape varieties in Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio and a rediscovery of the uniqueness of these vineyards are among the reasons for the spectacular growth in interest the Etna has seen in recent years.” - Vinous
2018 (GAJA & Graci) IDDA Etna Rosso
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “The new project from GAJA and Graci on the Island of Sicily – this is exciting stuff for the wine enthusiast and the second release lives up to all the hype and expectations. This is pure Nerello Mascalese from the GAJA & Graci Biancavilla vineyard – the first plot of land they purchased on the lesser-known southwest slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna. Here the soils of Biancavilla are among the oldest of the entire Etna DOC. Whereas the 2017 release provides a lighter and more playful interpretation, the 2018 is a more classic and structured expression of the indigenous varietal, from what is regarded as the superior vintage for the region. Once again, right from the pull of the cork, the aromatics scream Sicily and reach across the table and pull you in. You can expect nuances of wild berries, black cherries, sarsaparilla, citrus, cinnamon, wild and stemmy herbs, tar, and smoke. This time around we would not necessarily use the word Burgundian, rather we would emphasize Barolo or Nebbiolo in the descriptor. It is simply a more serious and age-worthy release – more structure, more finely knit and focused, more precise, more gripping tannins. It remains high toned, with coiled concentration, while being succulent, savory, and delicious. For today, we recommend age, aeration or food. It is another Sicilian wine that will transport you to Southern Italy begging for pizza with fatty pork sausage. This is a rare value from GAJA (and GRACI) to stock up on and see how this exciting new wine evolves. Once again, we say Booyah.”
2019 (GAJA & Graci) IDDA Sicilia Bianco
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: "It is the US first from the highly anticipated project between GAJA and Graci. While we were able to present the last vintage of the red (rosso), this is the first time the white (bianco) has become available on US soils. It is just another great alternative from drinking the standard white Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. In our opinion the wine has more in common to a Rhone white with its generous texture, and with its intense floral notes it is easy to draw some comparisons to the Viognier varietal. But this is Sicily with the indigenous Carricante, and while texture is always going to be a characteristic of the sun-kissed whites, there is also the signature Island minerality, and the Mediterranean influences of salinity and freshness. It is indeed a mouthful of ripe and generous stone fruit, citrus, wild herbs, a touch of marine salt and a stony minerality. Chalk up another win for the GAJA and Graci team. Well done.”
This is an email ONLY offer! If you would like to take advantage of this offer (that is only available until 11:59pm Tuesday, October 13th), we are asking that you email orders back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with your portfolio manager or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store. All orders are subject to confirmation. Wines begin to arrive late July.
All my best,