2007 Frank Cornelissen Munjabel Bianco #4

Corneilissen Munjabel Bianco #7

Corneilissen Munjabel Bianco #7

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.

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7 Responses to “2007 Frank Cornelissen Munjabel Bianco #4”

  1. Jeremy Pringle
    December 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    At last, a note that attempts to explain the purpose of the empirical phenomenology contained within it without resorting to the old “so you’ll get an idea of what you are buying”. In fact, you don’t even provide a price!

    It’s a form of wine writing (and investigation) that I feared had been lost amongst a raft of scores and general “consumer” driven “reviewing”…which I admit I’m usually guilty of myself. I’m 98 on this approach.

    • Dave
      December 6, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

      Thanks Jeremy….I umm’ed and ahhh’ed about adding a price and then thought….stuff it….with these sort of wines price shouldn’t come into the equation

  2. lars makie
    December 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    Alright, I hate to be a picker of nits, but just for posterity sake (truly, I’m thinking of others) I have to clarify what seems to be an mistake in your otherwise lovely post. If the wine was indeed the 2007 Munjebel bianco, then it would have been the #4. If it was the #7, it would have to be 2010 (he hasn’t released the 2010 version that I know of, yet). If it was the bianco 4 you had, congrats, that’s the best white I’ve had from Cornelissen; I really like that one a lot. His other whites I’ve had (5 & 6) just didn’t have the depth and character this one does. I have a lone bottle left that I’m itching to into.

    And while I’m feeling a little contrarian, I’ll add that I think that some of his wines can easily be taken down to the local pizza joint. The Contadino and Susucaru (the ‘rosé’) are really quite food friendly. Had the Contadino 6 with some friends (not wine geeks at all) at Hearth in NYC for dinner and everyone loved it.

    Big props for working phenomenological into a wine write up.

    • Dave
      December 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

      Thanks Lars….it is indeed the Bianco #4……I shall do a sneaky edit now….gives you some idea of the scratchy scrawl in my notebooks anyway.

      I have a couple of #6 Bianco’s and Contadino #7′s due to arrive next week…along with some Radikons, La Stoppa, Occhipinti’s and that wicked ‘Col Fondo Prosecco….’tis the season to be jolly and all that.

      • lars makie
        December 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

        They’re due to arrive next week… unless I hi-jack the shipment beforehand. That’s a box of awesomeness you got heading toward you. Had some of the 2004 Radikon Ribolla recently and it is something to take heed of.

        Back to Cornelissen, I came across an old post by Levi Dalton (stuper-star sommelier in NYC) that he did on Disorder (and now on his blog) where he talked about how Cornelissen reminded him of Ad Reinhardt. Interesting that you both connected him to artists in the same milieu. Something definitely there in the passion/energy/contemplative thought of each.

  3. Joseph Di Blasi
    May 6, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    Haha! I love your description of this wine! Fantastic!

    • Dave
      May 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

      Thanks Joseph!….avid reader of your blog…..love it!