The farm and vineyards are located in the Northern valley of the Etna, an active volcano, in Sicily. Nowadays the northern valley is considered as Etna’s top area for single-vineyard (contrada) red wines like the “Côtes-de-Nuits” in Burgundy or Piemonte’s “Barolo” area. The estate’s surface area is approximately 24 hectares, of which 13ha are old vines in the classic free standing alberello training system (Gobelet or bush-vine), 9ha of old vines transformed into modern rows with various width, approximately 2ha of olive growth and the remainder are fruit trees, vegetables and bush. Although Etna has a tradition in high density plantation of vines, Cornelissen seeks to reduce monoculture and has thus interplanted various local fruit varieties which attract bees to regain a complex ecosystem. The new vineyards are planted without grafts, using a selection of our original, ungrafted vines.
Cornelisson’s farming philosophy is based on acceptance of the fact that man will never be able to understand nature’s full complexity and interactions, hence they choose to concentrate on observing and learning the movements of Mother Earth in her various energetic and cosmic passages and prefer to follow her indications as to what to do, instead of deciding and imposing ourselves.
The estate’s flagship wine is the 2016 Magma. I am smitten by this wine, thanks to its delicate opening of wild berry and blue flowers. Those subtle fruity and floral notes are an appropriate prelude to the budding power and sharpness found just below the surface. Give the wine a few moments in the glass and it all comes into focus. Ultimately, this wine offers strong but balanced intensity in what is essentially an undertone vintage. The true magic of Magma comes thanks to its creative creator, Frank Cornelissen. [93 Points, Monica Larner– December 2018, robertparker.com]