Sicilian wine adventures – Part 10; I can resist everything except temptation


Thanks for taking such great care of the Nerello grapes Signor Ignazio Musmeci. Having tasted the 2007 Musmeci from Tenuta di Fessina I completely understand why Silvia, Roberto and Federico named the wine after you and your family.

The Musmeci puts me in an awkward position. It’s love at the first sniff, at the first sip. Musmeci has that je ne sais quoi feeling all over it. I can’t say exactly what it is that totally captivates me; perhaps it’s the floral scents, the cool fruit or the mineral driven bouquet. Or maybe it’s the vitality of the taste, the massive, yet silky tannins, the classy acidity or just that it has elegance written all over it? Perhaps it’s just the sum of all components that activates the excitement?

So why feel awkward? I can resist everything except temptation, Oscar Wilde wrote. Drinking Musmeci is simply doing that – every sip is exciting and the wine just keeps on adding nuances. But then when I’m trying to be objective and put words and a grade to what I experience, it feels a bit stupid. So, should I?

Tenuta di Fessina has been reviewed previously. Both their Laeneo, a pure Nerello Cappuccio, and the Erse, a pure Nerello Mascalese, are lovely wines with seduction as their trademark. Musmeci is the cru wine of the estate and the vines are around 80 years of average. Treated with great care by Signor Ignazio Musmeci for many years, there are now a yearly production of 8,000 bottles available for the world.

The grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature. Then matured for 15 months in big barrels/tonneaux and in stainless steel as well.

2007 Musmeci, Tenuta di Fessina, Etna, Sicily, 92-93 p

I’ve learned my lesson; the young flagship wines on Nerello needs a lot of aeration. This one got four hours but kept on opening up the whole evening. Decanted due to a quite heavy natural deposit.

Again, Burgundian color resemblance. Love these wines that doesn’t look much but totally chocks you on the nose and taste. When will consumers realize it’s not about the color? Floral, a gorgeous mix of roses and violets, humus, amarelles, sweet-root and pipe tobacco. Delicious high-altitude cool fruit. Ethereal.

Vital taste. Massive yet delicate tannins. An acidity to die for although my dentist will probably not agree. Red berries, lots of mineral associations, sweet-root, moist leather, tobacco and dried flowers. Pure, lingering finish. Gorgeous already but cellaring a few years will reward you.

So, again, think elegant Barbaresco, think Burgundian acidity, think high-altitude vines and most of all, think Etna and volcanic soil. If that sounds like your palate then I urge you to track the Musmeci down. There’s 8,000 of them every vintage. I want them all….

Purchased here. Finding it outside of Europe; ask Silvia!

PS. Roasted chicken wrapped in with Parma ham, sea salt, black pepper, chili flakes and some olive oil. Roasted slowly in the oven with zucchini, onions,  Balkan pimiento and thyme. Patate di Marsala to accompany. Fried in butter and olive oil slowly and then after a while dry Marsala is added. Some more butter, salt to continue frying. Perhaps not good for your heart but who cares when there’s Musmeci in the glass!

PS.2. Yes, I will post on other indigenous grapes of Sicily as well. Some international varieties too.