Frank Cornelissen

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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Mt. Etna, Sicily
People: Frank Cornelissen, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Certified Organic

Items

Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso CR, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login IWR 95 In Stock
Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso CS, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login In Stock
Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso FM, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login In Stock
Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso MC, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login In Stock
Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso PA, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login In Stock
Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso VA, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login WA 91 <1 Case
Frank Cornelissen (3 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso CS, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login In Stock
Frank Cornelissen (3 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso FM, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login In Stock
Frank Cornelissen 2016 Magma Rosso, Terre Siciliane IGP (Mt. Etna) Login IWR 97 WA 93 In Stock
Frank Cornelissen 2016 MunJebel Rosso CS, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login IWR 94 In Stock
Frank Cornelissen 2016 MunJebel Rosso FM, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login IWR 91 WA 92 <1 Case
Frank Cornelissen 2016 MunJebel Rosso PA, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna) Login IWR 93 <1 Case
Frank Cornelissen 2017 MunJebel, Terre Siciliane IGT Login WA 91+ In Stock



Media Links
Sprudge: The Very Best of Third Coast Soif 2018
The New York Times: The Evolution of a Natural Winemaker
I'll Drink to That!: Episode 129: Frank Cornelissen
Food & Wine: Sicilian Wine from Mount Etna
Vinography: Frank Cornelissen, Etna, Sicily - Upcoming Releases
Chicago Tribune: Nero d'Avola is king in Sicily, but another red grape turning heads

Social Media Links
Frank's Blog
Twitter: @Akicornelissen, @CornelissenEtna

"Our farming philosophy is based on our acceptance of the fact that man will never be able to understand nature’s full complexity and interactions. We therefore 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 ourselves. Consequently this has taken us to avoiding all possible interventions on the land we cultivate, including any treatments, whether chemical, organic, or biodynamic, as these are all a mere reflection of the inability of man to accept nature as she is and will be."

Frank’s wines are like none we've have ever tasted, and there is no doubt they have raised a stir throughout the industry. He uses amphorae for maturation and feet for crushing, and he works without SO2 or any other treatments. These wines express the absolutely unique land of Mt. Etna in a way that no other wine has. You really have to taste the wines and watch the color and flavor evolve in your glass to understand them. Yields are extremely low, and the U.S. allocation is extremely small.

The surface area of the estate is 12 hectares, of which 8.5 are vines in the classic free standing alberello training system (aka Gobelet, or bush-vine). The remainder is olive, fruit and nut trees, and brush. In abandoning monoculture to avoid classic diseases, they have inter-planted various local fruit varieties and keep bees to regain a complex ecosystem. The new vineyard (2003-4) was planted without grafts, using the cuttings of our existing pre-phylloxera vines. The training system used is the alberello, at a lower density of vines per hectare than is traditional. This greatly improves ventilation, as well as facilitating cultivation of other plants and species in between the vines, such as buckwheat, balancing soils low on organic material without recourse to compost. They avoid soil-moving, and all treatments whatsoever in the vineyard, orchard and surroundings, in which we succeeded even in difficult vintages such as 2004 and 2005.

Vinous 9/2017
"Cornelissen was born in Belgium but moved to the Etna region in 2000 because he grew up in a wine loving family and wanted to make important terroir-based wines. As he likes classic wines that speak of a specific terroir, it was easy to fall in love with Etna’s landscape and the presence of high quality indigenous grape varieties. Other factors played in his decision as well: for example, Etna’s long history of viticulture, intact nature with no industry warehouses and inevitable pollution, no long history of pesticide use, and great geologic diversity of the soils. Cornelissen owns roughly 35 hectares under vine and has just bought six more hectares. His winemaking has changed over the years, moving from the production of highly “natural-like” wines that spoke more of the technique employed (and ironically enough not much about the specific terroirs) to wines that are now truly magnificent (some of Italy’s most interesting red wines, in fact). Vinification is essentially the same for all his wines: he destalks, presses lightly, then has the must sit on the skins for one month or slightly more, depending on the vintage. Only indigenous yeasts are used and wines are bottled unfined. The range of wines I tasted on my visit to the estate were amongst the most exciting Italian wines I tasted this year."


Vinous 11/2015
"The wines of this idiosyncratic Etna producer have a strong cult following. Cornelissen farms roughly 15 hectares, of which 12 are vines trained in the alberello, or bush-vine, system typical of the area. New vineyards are planted without grafts, buckwheat is used to help soils low on organic material, yields are low, and the grapes are harvested late, from mid-October to mid-November. Cornelissen generally avoids all treatments, and only in exceptionally difficult vintages does he use copper sulfate and sulfur treatments."


Beyond Barolo and Brunello by Tom Hyland (2012)
"You only need to be with Frank Cornelissen for fifteen or twenty minutes to start to understand what drives this man. A former mountain climber from Belgium, Cornelissen brings the same determination he used to conquer the peaks of the Alps to his natural winemaking. Everything about what he does at his vineyards and winery in Etna district is with the highest degree of purity; he does not add sulfites to any of his wines and he uses no oak barrels or stainless steel tanks in his cellar. Thus he needs to bring in the cleanest, purest grapes he can to produce his distinctly individual wines."

Reviews

  • Frank Cornelissen 2016 MunJebel Rosso PA, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna)
    International Wine Report
    Rating: 93 (9/1/2018)

    The Munjebel Rosso PA is a 100% Nerello Mascalese from 60+ year old vines situated at 640 m elevation from the Porcaria cru. It has wonderful elegant and fresh aromas of wild cherry, ripe plum, red currant, sweet spice, smoke, and wild flowers. On the palate this displays remarkable overall balance and finesse with excellent purity of fruit and gorgeous firm, yet beautifully polished tannins. The finish is long and precise as it leaves a lasting impression. This should be cellared for 2-3 years minimum and last for 15 plus years.
  • Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso CR, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna)
    International Wine Report
    Rating: 95 (9/1/2018)

    The 'MunJebel CR' (Campo Re) Rosso comes from 70+ year old Nerello Mascalese vines grown at 735m elevation on the Western side of Etna's Northern Valley. It has a gorgeous nose with seductive aromas of wild black cherry, pomegranate, black pepper, exotic mushroom, dried rose petal along with hints of tar and dried spices. Fresh, silky and beautifully polished, this continues to impresses with its remarkable depth and focus, as red fruits and spice flavors work their way through the beautiful long finish. This is an elegant and remarbably pure expression of Nerello Mascalese with firm tannins and tremendous structure. Delicious today with some extended ait contact, but ideal to cellar for 3-5 years and enjoy over the next 15 plus.
  • Frank Cornelissen 2016 MunJebel Rosso FM, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna)
    International Wine Report
    Rating: 91 (9/1/2018)

    The 2016 'MunJebel FM' comes from the contrada Feudo di Mezzo, which was split by owner Frank Cornelissen into upper and lower sections. This is from sottana, which is the lower part, closer to the valley floor. A 100% Nerello Mascalese from 40+ year old vines, this has beautiful aromas of wild cherry, blackberry, crushed stone, cured meat and dried flowers which all develop in the glass. A elegant red, with firm tannins and a long supple finish that leaves you wanting more. Although this is already appealing, I expect this will likey show its best stuff after some short term cellaring.
  • Frank Cornelissen 2016 MunJebel Rosso CS, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna)
    International Wine Report
    Rating: 94 (9/1/2018)

    This 100% Nerello Mascalese comes from the Chiusa Spagnolo cru in the contrada Zottorinoto. The vines were planted in 1925 and are completely ungrafted. The wine itself offers beautiful aromatics of black cherry, dark currant, cranberry, orange oil, smoke, leather, mushroom and crushed rose petals. On the palate this is finely textured, displaying wonderful overall balance and sophistication, along with excellent depth of flavor. It remains precisely focused and pure through the long finish, as it leaves behind a mouthful of juicy red fruits lingering. Overall, this is an utterly captivating Nerello Mascalese from Frank Cornelissen which will continue to flourish for many years to come.
  • Frank Cornelissen 2016 Magma Rosso, Terre Siciliane IGP (Mt. Etna)
    International Wine Report
    Rating: 97 (9/1/2018)

    The 2016 'Magma' Rosso is the "Grand Vin" from Cornelissen and was sourced from the Contrada Barbabecchi, which was planted in 1910 and situated at 910 meters above sea level. The Barbabecchi Vineyard is positioned at a North-North East exposure, and consists of ungrafted 100+ year old vines of Nerello Mascalese. The resultant wine is simply magnificent, as it slowly unwinds and begins to release a wonderful range of aromatics, including dried dark cherries and ripe red plums, which are woven together with exotic spices, eucalyptus, dried florals, dusty leather, blood orange and a subtle hint of cedar all taking shape beautifully in the glass. This impeccably structured wine continues to impress on the palate with its remarkable overall depth and precise concentration through the incredibly long finish. While already showing so much, this has a tremendous amount of potential to age beautifully for many years to come. Overall, this is another brilliant effort from Frank Cornelissen, and is amongst one of the most fascinating wines you will find in all of Italy.
  • Frank Cornelissen (1.5 L) 2016 MunJebel Rosso VA, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna)
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (12/28/2018)

    From high-altitude vineyards on Etna, the 2016 Munjebel Rosso VA Le Vigne Alte is a delicate and finessed expression. This wine is the most fragile of all. Those vines planted high up the volcano's flank offer fruit that is characterized by wild berry, blueberry, rose hip and lilac. This wine speaks in a hushed voice, but its message certainly comes across. It flaunts a deeply volcanic identity with smoke, tar and crushed stone.
  • Frank Cornelissen 2017 MunJebel, Terre Siciliane IGT
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91+ (12/28/2018)

    This is now part of the Etna appellation and no longer a Terre Siciliane IGT wine. The 2017 Etna Rosso Munjebel is classic Cornelissen. The wine opens to unexpected richness and a distinct aromatic personality with black fruit, grilled herb and camphor ash. The quality of those aromas is bright and glossy with natural rubber and candied apricot. The darkness and the fruity depth of the wine reflects the hot and dry conditions of this vintage.
  • Frank Cornelissen 2016 MunJebel Rosso FM, Terre Siciliane IGP (Etna)
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (12/28/2018)

    The 2016 Munjebel Rosso FM Feudo di Mezzo Sottana is another direct, steady and focused interpretation in this exciting lineup of new releases. This wine shows more fleshiness and volume with aromas of black fruit and tar, framed by smoked bacon and savory tobacco. You also get transparent varietal typicity with subtle notes of black olive, licorice and aniseed.
  • Frank Cornelissen 2016 Magma Rosso, Terre Siciliane IGP (Mt. Etna)
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93 (12/28/2018)

    The estate's flagship wine is the 2016 Magma Rosso Contrada Barbabecchi. 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.