2009 Benanti "Pietramarina" Etna Bianco Superiore (Elsewhere $38)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
93+: Bright yellow. Highly perfumed, pure aromas of nectarine, lime, chamomile, mint, potpourri and liquid stone. Very dense and deep, with great thrust to its white stone fruit and herbal flavors thanks to racy lemony acidity. Still quite young, with a very long finish of powdered stone showing a dry riesling-like quality. This is the freshest, most lemony and best Pietra Marina in years. Well done; readers may want to take note that this is routinely considered to be one of Italy's fifteen best white wines. The grapes for this remarkable wine grow on the eastern slope of the Etna volcano at roughly 3000 feet above sea level. (93+)
Benanti's Pietramarina is 100% Carricante, a grape indigenous to Etna. It earns the Superiore designation only when grown on the eastern side of Etna. The sandy, mineral-rich volcanic soils create a wine that bursts with ripe apple and citrus fruit, stony minerality and underlying notes of licorice and almond, all buttressed by fresh acidity.