Cornelissen: Etna’s Genius

Lucien Michel | October 5, 2021

Frank Cornelissen's story is fascinating and filled with passion. From his native Belgium through a worldwide journey, he has been tasting wines, meeting winemakers, and sharing thoughts on “what wine is”. This quest made him better understand: who he was and what he liked; which concluded that it is all about terroir-driven wines.

After 20 years of tasting, one wine from Etna ignited his curiosity, as it represented his definition of terroir-transparency. Soon after, he rented out a vineyard and started to make wine. It eventually led Frank to purchase his first vineyard in 2001: a significant parcel of old, ungrafted vines at the top of Mount Etna.

Today, his winery is 24 hectares on Mount Etna's Northern slopes, including 13 hectares of old vines in Gobelet (bush-vine) style. His philosophy of low yields, combined with minimal intervention in the vineyard and zero-to-minimal use of sulfur during winemaking, have crafted some of the most unique wines in the world.

I highly recommend you try these wines. The whole range is fascinating, from the Munjebel Classico Bianco 2018, which is a complex orange wine, to the stunning Susucaru Rosato 2019 which is a rich, deep, and savory rosé. And, of course, we are showcasing the pure expression of Nerello Mascalese, through the range of reds, with vines that are at least 60 years old for each of the single-vineyard bottlings of Campo Re 2017, Feudo di Mezzo - Porcaria 2017, and Zottorinoto - Chiusa Spagnolo 2017.

Quantities are small, so act fast to secure some.