Anfora, the new wine bar from the team behind Manhattan’s L’Artusi and Dell’anima restaurants, has become my new favorite place for stepping out of my wine comfort zone and experimenting with more esoteric, edgy bottles. Sunday night, sommelier Joe Campanale hosted a casual tasting with Frank Cornelissen, a pioneering natural winemaker from Mount Etna, Sicily. “Mount Etna is one of the most interesting places right now for winemaking,” says Campanale. “There’s a lot of terroir-specific wine and a lot of very natural wine, which I get excited about. Wine should taste of a place.” Cornelissen was hesitant to label his wines as natural and instead referred to them as “territorial” wines.
I gravitated toward the MunJebel Rosso, made with Nerello Mascalese grapes from various vineyards and various years. Equally fascinating, though a bit too edgy for my palate, was Cornelissen’s Rosso del Contadino, a blend of local grapes—both red and white—from different vineyards.
Cornelissen’s MunJebel Bianco, a blend of Carricante, Grecanico Dorate and Coda di Volpe, looked and tasted more like a craft beer. Cloudy and golden and served at room temperature, it was pure funky-ness. This was Campanale’s favorite. “It has the smokiness from the volcanic soil and an umami quality to it,” he says.
For a taste, head to one of Campanale's restaurants or wine bar.