These are my unedited, un proof read notes on the new 2013 Contadino. They're my initial impressions and I'll have more in depth notes to follow. For info on the wine maker and his drive to make wines that taste like the rock of Mount Etna click here: Frank Cornelissen
Frank Cornelissen's Contadino is incredible and has become a touchstone for the natural wine movement. The Contadino is a well balanced and integrated wine, but the combination of flavors and experience of drinking it are outside of the normal commercial wine solar system. This wine is a ticket to another galaxy and expands your concept of what wine is.
This is the first bottling to have a vintage on it. It's also 13.5% alcohol instead of 15% as in previous years. I don't know what Frank has changed, but the wine is similar in flavor profile to past years, but lighter on it's feet. Past years had really serious tannins that grabbed your palate and wouldn't let go. This bottling plays nice and is more relaxed. I'll ask Frank what changed when he comes to host a dinner at Vinland on December 6th.
Aroma: Contadino is just not on the normal spectrum of what wine smells and tastes like. The aromatics are both very powerful and wildly floral. There's powerful aromas of rose as well as the sweeter smell of wild beach rose. The aroma is so dynamic that it's a bit chameleon like and harder than most to put into words. At the same time that the Contadino smells like wild roses it simultaneously smells like squeezed in your hand Sicilian blood orange juice. Once you get past the fruit and floral aromas you run head long into the smells of a holiday kitchen full of baking spices; there's all kinds of cardamon, cinnamon, rosemary, and lavender here. Oh, and cranberries; you can't miss all the cranberries baking in that conceptual kitchen.
Taste: Bright, racy, high toned. It has a bit of a pink grapefruit aspect to it. Very neon and vivid. There is a minerality to the finish that while not so tannic still comes across like licking a rough rock. The fresh acidity is the defining characteristic of the front end of the wine and it's finishes with a refreshing uplifting quality. This is a very cool departure from the style of previous years. Contadino used to be very much more Munjebel light, but this is brighter and has a softer touch to it while still being very intense and attention commanding.
I'll start posting on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as the Contadino gets out onto shelves and wine lists. It will be about $27 retail.