Top of the Popped: Cornelissen

Making their official West Coast debut….drum roll please….the wines of Frank Cornelissen!!! I’ve been waiting a while to get my hands on these and thanks to Amy Atwood us Cali peeps can finally enjoy these Mt. Etna anfora goodies.

Please excuse the cellphone photos, they suck.

When everybody on the block heard that Amy would be by the shop with open bottles of Cornelissen, they hightailed it over to taste. Jesse from Salt’s Cure, Willy from Tasting Table, Jonathan from Hatfield’s and even Anthony Wilson all came ’round.

Cornelissen is a die hard naturalist- NO treatments in the vineyard (organic, biodynamic or other), no sulfur additions in the cellar and only native yeast fermentation, of course. He also has quite the collection of 400 liter terracotta anforas and ferments and ages almost all of his wines in them. If you’re thinking, wait a second- Frank Cornelissen doesn’t sound Italian! You are super freaking smart. He’s Belgian. And was drawn to the incredible volcanic soils of Sicily’s Mt. Etna back in 2001 by way of Burgundy, where he was at one time a wine broker.

So, we tasted the 2010 “Munjebel 7” (the 7th time he’s made this wine) a blend of carricante, coda di volpe and grecanico that spend 4 months on their skins. I really dug this stuff (pictured above). It has a kind of celery and preserved lemon vibe going on and the texture is such a mouthful of glorious chew, but still has a vibrant freshness. Love. Other fav? The “Munjabel 7” Rosso (blend of 2009 and 2010 vintages). It’s 100% nerello mascalese and damn sexy. I dubbed this “vampire wine.” As in, if I was a vampire, this is the stuff I would drink when not drinking blood and trying to be civilized. Strawberry seeds, pomegranate, ash, iron, violet flowers and sturdy tannins. Again, Love.

These ain’t super cheap, but definitely worth the dollar bills.

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