SommSelect Editorial Director David Lynch is back on Sicily’s Mount Etna, where the Scammacca del Murgo family produces a rosé sparkler from Nerello Mascalese that is, in a word, unbelievable.
I try to go easy on the hyperbole in these offers, but today’s wine isn’t just a well-made, well-priced bottle: It’s a pretty major achievement. ‘Champagne method’ sparkling wines are, as we all know, not cheap to produce. They are more labor-intensive, and require tying up inventory for years before the wine is finally released. How the Scammaca del Murgo family manages to put this hand-made, Champagne-method sparkler—crafted from Etna’s Nerello Mascalese grape and aged a full two years on its lees before final bottling—on the market for less than $30 is beyond me. But it’s not my job to figure out how they do it; it’s my job to celebrate the fact that they did. Over my many years in restaurants, this wine was one of the great by-the-glass pours and a bottle that made me look smart every time I served it. (This is the same producer, by the way, whose delicious Etna Rosso was so popular that our site almost crashed fulfilling the orders.) If you need an over-achieving sparkler in quantity for an event, or just want true Champagne quality at a more ‘everyday’ price, this is your wine. It’s phenomenal.
“Rosé Champagnes are more expensive by nature, given the costs of growing Pinot Noir versus Chardonnay. Aside from the well-priced Crèmant de Bourgogne rosés of Burgundy, you simply won’t find a better Champagne alternative than this sensational Sicilian sparkler.”