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Tasca D'Almerita Sicilia Tenuta Regaleali Lamuri Nero D'Avola 2017
Set in the rolling hills of the lower Madonie mountains in the heart of Sicily , the Regaleali estate has helped put the island on the map for quality terroir-driven wines. The property was purchased in 1830 by brothers Lucio and Carmelo Mastrogiovanni Tasca, two pioneering innovators who modernised and reinvigorated the farm by bringing advanced agricultural technology and new ideas to the isolated Sicilian countryside.
Many generations later the Tasca family is still closely involved with the winery and continues that forward-thinking philosophy by focusing on sustainable viticultural practices and use of indigenous grape varieties like this stunning Nero D’Avola. Made in a fruit-forward style, this delicious red takes its name from the Sicilian word for “love” which is behind all of the hard work that goes into making this bottle.
On the nose there are enchanting notes of ripe plums, cherries and cassis as well as hints of cigar box from the 12 months of ageing in French oak. The first sip reveals a full body and well-defined tannins which will respond gracefully to another few years of bottle ageing. Alternatively it's a great wine to enjoy now with a hearty tomato-based pasta dish or even with pizza.
Cantina Cellaro Due Lune Nerello Mascalese – Nero D’Avola 2017
Located in Sambuca di Sicilia some 40 miles southwest of Palermo, Cantina Cellaro works with many growers to craft exceptional wines from the local terroir. The enology team carefully analyses the microclimate and soils of each vineyard plot and collaborates with the grower to ensure yields are kept to a minimum and quality is closely controlled. This way of working gives the Cantina access to top quality fruit from across the region.
Due Lune is crafted from two classic Sicilian varieties, Nerello Mascalese and Nero d’Avola. The Nerello is partially dried after harvest by cutting the vine branches and leaving the fruit for up to 20 days so the grapes lose around 20% of their water content. This helps to concentrate the sugars and the flavours. The must is then vinified and aged in French and American oak barrels for 6 months before bottling.
Dark chocolate, cherry, and luscious crushed berry notes define the nose, while the palate has a generous full body, silky smooth texture and soft tannins with intense dark fruit flavours that linger on the finish. Opulent and full-throttled, this classic Sicilian red is ideal for pairing with hearty tomato-based pasta dishes, steak, or barbecued meats.
Buscemi Etna Rosso Tartaraci 2016
Bruscemi was created by Mirella Buscemi, the wife of famed Sicilian winemaker Alberto Graci who is also Vice President of the Consorzio covering the Etna DOC region. Mirella’s wines are crafted at the Graci winery and display the same spirit of authenticity and exceptional quality as Alberto’s excellent Etna wines.
Mirella’s sole red wine is the Tartaraci which is produced in tiny quantities of just a few thousand bottles each year. Fruit is sourced from a stunning single vineyard high up on Etna’s north-eastern slopes which was once owned by the famed British admiral Lord Nelson. The plot sits at an altitude of 980 metres and is planted with 90 year old Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Grenache vines. In the winery Mirella adopts a very light touch, using only concrete vats and large botti or wooden casks to mature her wines.
The nose is a complex perfume of wild rose, pomegranate and sour cherry while the first sip showcases finesse and freshness with plenty of mouthwatering acidity backed up by intense red fruit flavours. The smooth tannins and refined structure will help this wine develop well in the cellar, but it can also be served now alongside tomato-based pasta dishes or a generous platter of Italian charcuterie.
Graci Etna Rosso 2017
Sicily’s Mount Etna makes some of Italy’s most distinctive wines thanks to the rich volcanic soils and elegant local grape varieties such as Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio. Alberto Graci began his winemaking career here in 2004 after returning to his family’s estate following a stint training as a banker in Milan. Graci took over the running of his family’s 2 hectares of vineyards and today he serves as Vice President of the Consorzio covering the Etna DOC region.
Graci’s Etna Rosso is crafted from his organically-grown Nerello Mascalese grapes from younger vines planted on Etna’s north-eastern slopes. The volcanic soils help to create a light and elegant red wine with plenty of freshness and finesse.
The nose opens with charming notes of bright strawberries, raspberries, and cherries complemented by dried Mediterranean herbs and subtle smoky hints. On the palate there is a refreshing acidity, medium body, and smooth tannins which make this delicious red very easy to drink. This is an ideal wine to enjoy on its own, even slightly chilled during the summer in traditional Italian style, or to accompany charcuterie, hard cheeses, and tomato-based pasta dishes.
Feudo Maccari Maharis 2017
Antonio Moretti is probably best known for being a successful entrepreneur and the owner of the Tenuta Sette Ponti which produces the outstanding Super Tuscan wine Oreno. Inspired by the potential of the unique terroir around the town of Avola in south-eastern Sicily, in 2000 Moretti purchased the Feudo Maccari estate with his daughter, Monica. Since then the duo have worked hard to capture the spirit of the estate’s old Nero d’Avola and Syrah bush vines which are planted on fertile volcanic soils.
The Maharis is named after the Arab term for the ancient watchtowers along the coast of Sicily which were used to keep watch over the coast. This reference to the many cultures which have influenced Sicily reflects the character of the wine which is made from the Syrah grape.
The wine is made with grapes sourced from 20-30 year old bush vines. Following the harvest the grapes are macerated on the skins for 18 days before being aged in French oak barrels for 16 months. This helps to produce a rich, full-bodied red which bursts with dark fruit, smoke, and sweet spice notes. Silky smooth tannins are complemented by a rounded texture and a very long finish.
Pietradolce Contrada Rampante Etna Rosso 2017
Pietradolce has quickly become one of Sicily’s most exciting young wineries since its foundation in 2005. Today the estate has 11 hectares of vines at 600-900 metres of altitude on Etna’s northern slope in the subregions of Rampante and Zottorinoto. Conditions here are ideal for quality winemaking thanks to the cool, fresh nights and hot summer days which help craft richly-flavoured yet balanced wines.
Pietradolce’s Contrada Rampante is made from 100% Nerello Mascalese, Etna’s most famous black grape variety, which is renowned for its ability to capture the essence of the unique volcanic soils. The vines used for this wine are 90 year old bush vines which are hand-harvested in mid-October. Once in the winery the must is vinified and the young wine matured in French oak barrels for 14 months.
Ripe black cherry, strawberry and dried Mediterranean herbs characterise the nose, while on the palate there are ample dark berry notes and hints of earth, tobacco and woodsmoke. Rich and full-bodied, the well-defined structure is supported by firm tannins and a long finish. Ideal for drinking now with hearty red meat dishes, this is also a great wine to cellar for the next 8 years or so if you have the patience.