Frank Cornelissen's wines deserve the attention of every serious wine lover. He is one of the great figures in the natural wine world, but whether you are a fully signed-up naturalista or not, these are wines you don't want to miss. They are probably the best in Sicily, some of the best in all Italy, and demand far outstrips supply.
Frank is a Belgian with a first class education in the classic wines of Europe, but for the last twenty years he has made wine on Sicily's Mount Etna. He is based on the northern slopes of the mountain, a remarkable area where unique vineyards, each with their own aspect, soil and character, have been created by centuries of volcanic activity.
Now truly magnificent ... some of Italy's most interesting red winesIan d'Agata on Cornelissen, Vinous, 2017
Frank makes wine in the simplest possible way, which is also the most difficult. He strives to avoid every unnecessary intervention in both vineyard and winery, and he does this without the wines ever losing their precision and control. They are very skilfully made. He makes a wide range from different plots, and all are outstanding, but the one you need to snap up while you can is the entry-level Susucaru (previously known as Contadino, a field blend of 85% Nerello Mascalese with other local varieties). This sells out on release and offers great value for a wine of its class. It provides an introduction to Frank's style, is ready to drink immediately, and is both idiosyncratic and unbelievably delicious.
In a way, it is too delicious - you can easily drink a bottle of this in no time, and it is a wine that deserves to be admired. It is very appetising, with a beautiful bright red colour and an upfront wild strawberry flavour, but it is also sophisticated - with mouthwatering freshness and subtle, fine tannins making a harmonious whole. Magnificent on its own, and even better at dinner in the garden on a summer evening.
We have a few bottles in stock, and a few cases on the way which will be ready to despatch next week. Get it while you can.