The New Wines of Mount Etna. An Insider’s Guide to the History and Rebirth of a Wine Region by Benjamin North Spencer
About the author:
Benjamin North Spencer has been battling lava since 2012 when he moved to Etna. Now he is sharing his experiences and knowledge in this great book on the wines of Etna.
He’s an upstate New York guy, who might have been destined to be a White Zinfandel aficionado. Thank God he was saved by the volcano and spellbound by the fantastic wines of Etna.
When I first met him he was a wine writer, a somm, a former wanna be winemaker among other things, aka a winelover. Today he runs the Etna Wine School together with Nadine (who comes from Sicily and moved there with him) and now he is once again communicating wine with a pen.
My wiew of Etna:
I’ve had the privilege to visit Siciliy and Etna on several occasions. It was love at first sight, regarding the volcano as well as the wines. There is something special about walking on a volcano. You can feel the rock itself, as if it is alive, there is a kind of changeability that accommodates both barrenness and life. It makes you feel like living on the edge.
Did I tell you that love Etna and Etna wines! I do, I do, I do…
Etna wine, the wine producers, the grapes and much, much more:
Benjamin invite´you to meet the Benantis, Foti, the Calabrettas, Franchetti, Cornelissen, de Grazia, the Biondis, Graci and many others that make wine wines from slopes of Etna.
In this book you’ll find the history of Etna wine and the producers. It is the story that goes beyond living on the edge. They (the wine makers) make wine on a living volcano. A volcano that still do erupt and cast hot molten lava and fissure into the air and down on the vineyards. This is a blessing and on occasion a distaster for the vineyards. On one hand it continually changes the conditions in the vineyards, this is a big part of what gives Etna it’s unique terrior. It can also destroy a vineyard for years to come, like the one below.
Benjamin gives you the insights of Etna wine making and the story of the best and most well known grapes on Etna like: Zu’ Matteo, Terribile, Minella Bianca and Madama Nera.
Well, they maybe not be the best, but they are part of Etna wine. You will see that Etna is much more than the usual suspects: Carricante, Catarratto, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. The four grapes that most of us know and love. Grapes that has brought the attention of the wine world to Etna.
In this book your wine lingo will expand. I can see lots of occasions to toss around words like pistamutta, alberelli, vinazzu or palmenti rupestre. At least you will know them and know what they means. You’ll also learn that baked earth has nothing to do with weed, it’s far more archaeological.
History is a very important part of Etna and this book. Our ciceron is helped by Blu (a dog, there seems to be one at every winery) to find our way through the time of the Greeks, the Romans, the Vandals & Goths and other Etna visitors. Visitors that over time have left pieces that led up to what we know as Etna rosso and bianco. Then came the winelovers and the rest really is history!
Etna is a spectacular and very special place and so are the wines made here. This is also a special book that is a necessity for every one that loves wine! This is also a great book if you want to discover Etna and it’s history as a wine region. It will help you to understand the concept of volcanic wine. Tag along and become an Etnalover!
How to get the book:
Get your hands on The New Wines of Mount Etna. An Insider’s Guide to the History and Rebirth of a Wine Region. It’s personal, it’s filled with in-depth knowledge on Etna, anecdotes and it is an over all a very fun and good read. Buy it for Christmas, get it in January, then plan a trip to Etna asap!
The book can be ordered here: https://www.etnareport.com/