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2019 Azienda Agricola Frank Cornelissen, Munjebel CR, Terre Siciliane IGT

Vinous

93

CellarTracker

93
Regular price $58
/

2019 Azienda Agricola Frank Cornelissen, Munjebel CR, Terre Siciliane IGT

Vinous

93

CellarTracker

93
Regular price $58
/

100% Nerello Mascalese from a deep-soiled vineyard site at 735m altitude. The 70+ year-old vines produce highly-structured wines; the grapes are de-stemmed and allowed to macerate for 50 days. Fermentations start with a pied de cuvée, and are carried out in neutral vats. The wines will age in vat for 18 months and in bottle for another 18 months. About 2000 bottles are made yearly, generally a wine close in style to old-vine Nebbiolo in its intensity.

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To say that Frank Cornellisen is in touch with nature is an understatement. It is his entire ethos and purpose of being. The success of his Susucaru wines is both a blessing and a curse. The wines are fine... but I often see Munjebel just sitting there on shelves collecting dust while hoards of Hipters are walking off with the "Susu". Frank's Munjebel cuvées are full of character, detail and haunting complex notes with a massive range. Even the basic "Rosso" (a blend of all Crus) offers a beautiful alpine snapshot of volcanic Contradas. Delicate, refined red fruit, dried rose petals & volcanic rock dominate these wines in a way that is quite direct, yet offers time for contemplation. These wines have silky structures with a bit of wildness that is in perfect balance. They are pleasantly primary at first but with air, they evolve into magically framed, finessed wines that offer ultimate enjoyment.

Azienda Agricola Frank Cornelissen

Though not a native Italian, the Belgian-born Cornelissen has lived around wine his entire life, growing up the son of an importer. Nearly 25 years ago, Frank invested in a vineyard high on the daunting slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily, starting with a mere 0.4 hectares of vines.

Now the proud owner of 19 hectares, the Cornelissen label has come to be known as a seal of not only quality, but impressively individual wines. While the early years brought wines of intense minrerality and acidity, Frank has grown along with his vineyards, learning through smart viticulture how to imbue more depth and richness into the wines that will always possess the clear minerality of such extreme sites.

Working with the indigenous grapes of Etna, such as Nerello Mascalese, can be daunting for many; many of the vineyards atop the mountain were planted with clones that would allow for impressive yields in place of high quality. Frank has used great clones, many un-grafted vines as well, to achieve the great quality he eternally pursues.

Stylistically, the wines are undoubtedly full of personality; he has separated his wines into "Grand Crus" and "Premier Crus," but will largely treat them the same, the difference being the vine material and quality of fruit. Grapes are de-stemmed and lightly crushed, and there will usually be some skin contact for all wines, whites included. Mascalese benefits from longer contact with the skins, usually around 50 days. The wines will ferment with native yeasts in large (1500-2500 L ) epoxy-lined tanks where they will age for 18 months. The wines will be bottled and again age in bottle for around 18 months before release. This does not account for the Perpetuum, which is a multi-vintage blend crafted as a perpetual reserve, or solera-style, dating back to the 2015 vintage.

Frank considers the Munjebel VA to be the most "Burgundian" in character - think of Nerello Mascalese as a bridge of sorts between Pinot and Nebbiolo - whereas the Munjebel CR is the most intense, structured version more in line with the grape's Nebbiolo character.

Meet the Producer

Azienda Agricola Frank Cornelissen

To say that Frank Cornellisen is in touch with nature is an understatement. It is his entire ethos and purpose of being. The success of his Susucaru wines is both a blessing and a curse. The wines are fine... but I often see Munjebel just sitting there on shelves collecting dust while hoards of Hipters are walking off with the "Susu". Frank's Munjebel cuvées are full of character, detail and haunting complex notes with a massive range. Even the basic "Rosso" (a blend of all Crus) offers a beautiful alpine snapshot of volcanic Contradas. Delicate, refined red fruit, dried rose petals & volcanic rock dominate these wines in a way that is quite direct, yet offers time for contemplation. These wines have silky structures with a bit of wildness that is in perfect balance. They are pleasantly primary at first but with air, they evolve into magically framed, finessed wines that offer ultimate enjoyment.

Though not a native Italian, the Belgian-born Cornelissen has lived around wine his entire life, growing up the son of an importer. Nearly 25 years ago, Frank invested in a vineyard high on the daunting slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily, starting with a mere 0.4 hectares of vines.

Now the proud owner of 19 hectares, the Cornelissen label has come to be known as a seal of not only quality, but impressively individual wines. While the early years brought wines of intense minrerality and acidity, Frank has grown along with his vineyards, learning through smart viticulture how to imbue more depth and richness into the wines that will always possess the clear minerality of such extreme sites.

Working with the indigenous grapes of Etna, such as Nerello Mascalese, can be daunting for many; many of the vineyards atop the mountain were planted with clones that would allow for impressive yields in place of high quality. Frank has used great clones, many un-grafted vines as well, to achieve the great quality he eternally pursues.

Stylistically, the wines are undoubtedly full of personality; he has separated his wines into "Grand Crus" and "Premier Crus," but will largely treat them the same, the difference being the vine material and quality of fruit. Grapes are de-stemmed and lightly crushed, and there will usually be some skin contact for all wines, whites included. Mascalese benefits from longer contact with the skins, usually around 50 days. The wines will ferment with native yeasts in large (1500-2500 L ) epoxy-lined tanks where they will age for 18 months. The wines will be bottled and again age in bottle for around 18 months before release. This does not account for the Perpetuum, which is a multi-vintage blend crafted as a perpetual reserve, or solera-style, dating back to the 2015 vintage.

Frank considers the Munjebel VA to be the most "Burgundian" in character - think of Nerello Mascalese as a bridge of sorts between Pinot and Nebbiolo - whereas the Munjebel CR is the most intense, structured version more in line with the grape's Nebbiolo character.


Vinous

Vinous

93

Woodsy herbs and wet stone take on an air of white smoke and peppery florals as the 2019 Munjebel Rosso CR (Campo Re) unfolds in the glass. This takes its time, slowly opening, as wild strawberries, stems and all, lazily come to the fore. It’s seamlessly silky and pliant upon entry, cool-toned as well, with a mounting saturation of red berries toward the close, adding an almost-chewy sensation. While structured with angular tannins, there’s a burst of inner sweetness that adds balance, as notes of fresh tobacco mix with licorice and hard red candies to create a finish that seems to linger on and on. The CR may be the longest lived of Cornelissen’s 2019 Rossos, but also the one that will take the most time to come around. The Campo Re hails from the western part of the northern slope of Etna at around 735 meters. The wine undergoes indigenous fermentation, followed by fifty days of maceration on the skin and eighteen months of refinement in epoxy tanks.

What the Critics are Saying

Vinous

Vinous

93

Woodsy herbs and wet stone take on an air of white smoke and peppery florals as the 2019 Munjebel Rosso CR (Campo Re) unfolds in the glass. This takes its time, slowly opening, as wild strawberries, stems and all, lazily come to the fore. It’s seamlessly silky and pliant upon entry, cool-toned as well, with a mounting saturation of red berries toward the close, adding an almost-chewy sensation. While structured with angular tannins, there’s a burst of inner sweetness that adds balance, as notes of fresh tobacco mix with licorice and hard red candies to create a finish that seems to linger on and on. The CR may be the longest lived of Cornelissen’s 2019 Rossos, but also the one that will take the most time to come around. The Campo Re hails from the western part of the northern slope of Etna at around 735 meters. The wine undergoes indigenous fermentation, followed by fifty days of maceration on the skin and eighteen months of refinement in epoxy tanks.