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Frank Cornelissen: Sicilian Winemaker

We just received a remarkable drop of wines from Sicilian cult producer Frank Cornelissen. If you haven’t heard of Frank Cornelissen, have we got a treat for you! If you have, then YOU KNOW!

These are highly allocated and beloved natural wines in our small corner of the world. They went viral in 2016 after being championed by rap star and foodie Action Bronson. You can see Action and Cornelissen drinking and talking wine on YouTube. 

The love has just continued, with digitally savvy wine lovers raving about them on Instagram and TikTok. These delicious red wines are for those wanting to try the best of the best. 

Frank Cornelissen owns 19 hectares of vines relatively high up on active volcano Mount Etna in Sicily. Cornelissen is not Italian; he is the son of a wine broker in Belgium and was immersed in wine on a professional level from a very young age.

Cornelissen is obsessive over details. He believes (and we agree!) that all these details make wines truly express terroir. He is a meticulous vineyard worker and keeps an immaculate and organized cellar. While there are many essential details in his winemaking, the true key to his winemaking is in the vineyards. Cornelissen could have chosen to make wine anywhere in the world, but he chose Mount Etna for a reason.

The North Valley of Etna is incredible. The unique combination of volcanic soils gives his wines their personality. Cornelissen also chose to work with Etna’s primary varietal, Nerello Mascalese. With these two ingredients in place, he believed he could make wines of great complexity and distinction. That has proven to be true; in the 20+ years he has produced wines, they have only become more expressive and delicious. Cornelisson describes Nerello Mascalese as being somewhere between Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. His best wines have the dry and sharp tannins you find in great Nebbiolo but with the lusher fruits of Pinot Noir.

Cornelissen works without herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals. He occasionally uses biodynamic treatments, but he does not follow the biodynamic calendars; instead, he follows the unique schedule of his vineyards.