Chaotic, perception shattering and energetic….Frank Cornelissen produces his ethereal, thought provoking wines from the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily.
For wines like these….and others of the same ilk like Radikon and Gravner….accurate description is not a phenomenological end, but a means to access more generalisable patterns, structures and meanings…..to dig into the thought processes behind the creation of the wine and be able to identify with its core aspects and qualities. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is, this isn’t a bottle to take along to the corner pizza joint…..these are wines that require an open mind, so give the old cranial Etch-a-Sketch a shake and clean the canvas…..
The Cornelissen estate is 12ha with 8.5 ha under vine. There are no interventions to the vineyard at all….chemical, organic or biodynamic letting naturing take its own course.
The Munjabel Bianco is a blend of various vineyards but the blend is Carricante, Grecanico Dorato and Coda di Volpe and is produced in a red wine fashion.
Yields are tiny…some 300g per vine….the grapes are crushed into plastic fermenters in the backyard, covered with lids to keep out the elements…..an indigenous ferment kicks off and the grapes stay on their skins for some 4 months before being pressed off to amphorae to rest.
Bottling, and indeed the whole winemaking process takes place without any additions of sulphur…..no filtration or clarification of any sort, no fining.
The wine itself has the appearance of slightly watered down apricot juice….the same hue, turbid, viscous looking and cloudy.
The nose is incredibly heady with an exotic souk-like character…..sandlewood, patchouli, incense, citrus fruits, stone fruit (apricot & peach), washed rind cheese, funk, dried flowers, straw, tangerine, spice and a touch of cocktail onion volatile lift.
Huge energy on the palate with amazing texture and phenolic presence….fragrant. incense infused apricot, tangerine and peachy fruits with a George Clinton sized serving of funk. Sweet tannin, a waft of smoke and abundant soft spices….it has a commanding palate, great detail and precision and a rapier-like, mineraly line of acidity that scorches through the back palate.