Tifeo’s heart beats under Mount Etna

What can I say about this bottle… I loved it before I even tried it. My beautiful sister-in-law, Marzi, and her husband Darek sent us a surprise shipment when they were visiting Italy (so nice!). They were already back home in Poland before the loot arrived in Arizona, and into our wine-loving arms. More importantly, it survived the journey before the summer heat invaded!

The 2015 Tifeo Rosso from Gambino Winery is a blend of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio grapes.

If you haven’t heard of these grapes, you’re not alone (there are 100’s of wine grape varieties, just in Italy!). They’re not as widely known all over the world like popular Cabernet Sauvignon, or Italy’s flagship grape, Sangiovese. Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio are grown in Sicily, on the slopes of the active volcano, Mount Etna.

Wine grapes are fascinating, aren’t they? Not only can they grow in the most unusual spots—hilly, steep slopes, rooted in volcanic soil—they thrive, even with stress and harsh conditions.

The 2015 Tifeo retails for $35.

Tifeo’s blend of Nerello Mascalese & Nerello Cappuccio grapes just work together—like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They’re good friends, balancing each other out.

Nerello Mascalese is known for being fruit forward with high acidity, medium tannins, and earthy notes. Nerello Cappuccio brings a lot of color, with high levels of anthocyans—naturally occurring phenolic compounds responsible for the red, purple and blue colors found in wine grapes, vegetables, and fruits. It also helps to soften, smoothing out Mascalese’s firmer tannins. I’m looking forward to getting to know these grapes better.

Tifeo (Typhoeus, or Typhon in Greek Mythology), half man with coiled serpents for legs… a winged giant, so huge, his head brushed the stars. His wings lay between Messina and Syracuse, his tail underneath Naples, and his heart beats under Mount Etna. 

This bottle reminded me of an Austrian St. Laurent I tried and previously wrote about, somewhat similar to a medium-bodied Pinot Noir. Lots of acidity but the tartness was pleasant. Bright, medium-deep ruby in color, with balanced tannins and clean finish. I loved the mineral aspects, spice, and subtle earthy notes. Typhoeus “Tifeo” would be pleased with this bottle, his heart full.

This is the look you get when you wake someone up from their cat nap to take a quick photo…

Dziękuję Bardzo, Marzi & Darek! Hugs!




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I write about wine as well as the unique stories behind each label. I'm a R.D.H. with an applied science degree in dental hygiene, and have been geeking out about wine for over 20 years. Before obtaining a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification, I learned about wine just by trying different styles and regions. I've also worked with a local distributor in wine sales. Wine brings people together and makes the world a smaller, friendlier place... Cheers!

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