Benanti Serra della Contessa 2016


In Stock

“The 2016 Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa Particella No. 587 Riserva is dark and savory in the glass, grumbling up with notes of crushed rocks and ash that evolve further to reveal musky black currants, hints of licorice and dried violets. This is velvety-smooth, yet not weighty in feel. Instead, the 2016 seems to glide effortlessly across the palate, yet what it leaves behind is a saturation of primary fruit and mineral tones, as well as silky tannins that penetrate deeply. The Serra della Contessa finishes structured yet long and unexpectedly fresh, with balsam herbs and a touch of salted licorice that slowly fades. This Etna Rosso is a powerhouse, but it is in need of cellaring to reveal all at its charms. Drinking window: 2024-2032. 95 points

When you’re tasting the wines of a producer who should be at the top of their game but is falling short, it’s always depressing. As for Benanti, this is an estate that was first on the scene at Etna. It’s one that helped define the single-vineyard (contradas) of the region. To this day, they continue to raise the bar with their Riserva Serra della Contessa and Etna Bianco Superiore Pietra Marina–both stunning expressions of variety and place. They also produce an exceptional Nerello Cappuccio, one of the few single-variety expressions that readers can find outside of Sicily. This all sounds great, but the problem is that I find a huge disparity between the top wines and those that fill the majority of the portfolio. Why can’t a producer like Benanti produce an entry-level Etna Rosso that can compete with the other producers of Mount Etna? Why is their single-vineyard Rosso Monte Serra, yet again, a sub-ninety-point wine, even from a good vintage like 2019? Your guess is as good as mine.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (06/22)