Highlights: three from Azienda Agricola Cortese, Sicily
These are affordable, organic wines from Vittoria in Sicily. The estate was purchased by Stefano and Marina Girelli in 2016, and they work with indigenous varieties, using traditional winemaking techniques, including terracotta amphorae. When they took over, even though the vineyard was in quite a state, it had been farmed organically and they found they had some very nice old vines.
UK agent is North South Wines, and they are currently mainly available through independent wine merchants, priced around £12.
Cortese Nostru Carricante 2017 Terre Siciliane IGP, Italy
400 m altitude. Destemmed and settled for 48 h, then fermented at low temperature. Supple and bright with a mineral edge to the citrus and pear fruit. Fine herbs and a twist of mint, with nice complexity and a bright finish. There’s some fennel, too. Stylish wine. 90/100
Cortese Nostru Carricante 2018 Terre Siciliane IGP, Italy|
(£11.95 Field & Fawcett, House of Townend, SH Jones, Topsham.) This has lovely intensity, with apricot and pear fruit and a limey edge. It’s quite bold, but fruit is the driver, with an undercurrent of stony, grainy, lemon-acid structure. Zippy, but with a touch of richness. It’s not a million miles away from Albariño and it has quite a mineral core to it. 90/100
Cortese Nostru Nerello Masalaese 2017 Terre Siciliane IGP, Italy
Vineyards are around 400 metres. Destemmed. 13% alcohol. Quite rich and luscious with sweet black cherry and plum fruit. Ripe yet fresh with a bright black fruits character and some stony savouriness, as well as hints of liquorice and cured meat. Nice weight with some complexity. 90/100
UK Stockists: Slurp www.slurp.co.uk; Jeraboams https://jeroboams.co.uk/; Saxty’s Wine/Secret Bottle Shop https://secretbottleshop.co.uk/; Ricardo’s Cellar http://ricardoscellar.com/.
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