Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Rosso VA Magnum 2016
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What seems like a long wait for such a rare wine, the Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Rosso VA is finally about to touch down in the UK again! Frank began collecting wines with his father, and the first wines he bought were a mixed case of 1972 Domaine de la Romanée Conti. Despite the cost, he was hooked. Since then ‘wine has never left me’, he says. Later, he became a wine agent, and talking regularly with winemakers he became interested in the rather philosophical question of what wine actually is. Over 20 years of tasting, he found that he liked wines that were an expression of culture, that is more evolved, and which express the soil more than the fruit. He decided that he wanted wines with a more natural approach and that he’d like to make wines without any treatments in the vineyard, winemaking or bottling.
The farm and vineyards are located in Sicily, in the Northern Valley of the active volcano Etna. Although Etna has a tradition in the high-density plantation of vines, they search to reduce monoculture and have interplanted various local fruit varieties and keep bees to regain a complex ecosystem. The new vineyards are planted without grafts, using a selection of their original, ungrafted vines. Buckwheat is used for rebalancing soils low on organic material without recourse to industrial compost, especially important when preparing the land for a new vineyard plantation. They avoid soil-tilling as much as possible, although this depends on the vintage and the quantity of water over the winter (recovering of the vines after the production cycle). Franks goal is to avoid all treatments whatsoever in the vineyard, orchard and surroundings, in which they succeeded even in difficult vintages such as 2004 and 2005. Unfortunately, there will always be the vintages where treatments with copper sulphate and sulphur are necessary to avoid vines from dying like 2013 and 2015.
This Munjebel Rosso VA is pure Nerello Mascalese and a blend from Frank’s 3 highest vineyards (Vigne Alte): Tartaraci, Monte Dolce, Pettinociarelle. It expresses beautifully the value and precision of the old vines, ungrafted Nerello Mascalese on the high terraces in the Northern Valley of Mount Etna. The most Burgundian of all our crus.
Frank Cornelissen Munjebel Rosso VA in Magnums are seriously hard to get your hands – it’s on allocation only in the UK, and we have just 2x 150cl. Once they’re gone they’re gone!