November 27, 2013

Wine: If you’re the ‘decider,’ mix it up a bit this Thanksgiving

There are many theories of Thanksgiving drinking.

(Continued from page 1)

Speaking of earth and rocks, the wine its maker calls “liquid rock” has arrived in the latest vintage: Cornelissen Contadino 10, $27 (Devenish). I first tasted this wine (Contadino 9 and Munjebel 8) early last winter, and then wrote two exhilarated articles on it and the Belgian Frank Cornelissen’s uncompromisingly naturalistic approach to making wine on the volcanic Mount Etna of Sicily. I’ve often wondered since then whether I was overstating the case.

I was not. It is extraordinary. Cornelissen hikes the price of his top-tier Magma wine (around $200) so that he can artificially lower the price of Contadino. This 10th iteration of the majority Nerello Mascalese wine is more dense and concentrated, less fruity, than the ninth. It is very, very big (doesn’t remind me of Pinot Noir anymore) but always in an open-knit, porous sort of way.

I drank it recently with Ned Swain, the wine’s Maine distributor, and he said “furry.” It is that, if “furry” means warm and deep. (He said he actually got a sense of fur, of adhesive prickle). We collaborated on a metaphor: Thick, damp morning fog; then the sun breaks through to lighten the mood; then a move to forested hills, ferns and moss.

Whatever. The wine is so damn fascinating, but so huggable too, with the most amazing tannins, which hold on but not too tight, just firmly enough to let you know you’re not alone. For this vivid, comforting sensation, as well the depth and breadth of its savory character, it will take center stage at my own Thanksgiving meal, and many more occasions as well.

Joe Appel works at Rosemont Market. His blog is soulofwine.com, and he can be reached at soulofwine.appel@gmail.com. Not all the wines mentioned in this column are necessarily sold at Rosemont, but distributor information listed in parentheses permits special orders through any Maine retailer.

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