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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.
Feudo Maccari Family and Friends 2018
Set at Sicily’s most southerly point, Feudo Maccari is a gorgeous winery studded with old vines planted on rich volcanic soils which give a special personality to the wines made here. The property was purchased in 2000 by Antonio Moretti who is best known for his legendary Oreno, a Super Tuscan wine which enjoys a cult following in Italy and beyond, which is made at his Tenuta Sette Ponti winery.
Here in Sicily Moretti has pursued a different approach, working with his daughter Monica to reveal the unique character of this corner of the island which boasts some of Italy’s most original terroirs. After extensive trials to find a white wine that would thrive here, Moretti planted 18 hectares of Grillo as bush vines on the volcanic and limestone soils. This bottling is crafted from Moretti’s finest Grillo grapes and is fermented in a combination of concrete eggs and oak barrels.
Moretti then matures the wine in cement and French oak barrels for six months to add balance and complexity, followed by another six months in the bottle. This attentive winemaking helps to create a finely balanced white which is bursting with floral and bright citrus notes along with a creamy texture, medium body and tropical fruit flavours on the long finish.
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.
COS Rami 2019
This unusual orange wine is made by top Sicilian natural winemakers COS who are based in Vittoria in the south-eastern corner of the island. The winery was founded in 1980 by a trio of friends, Giambattista Cilia, Cirino Strano and Giusto Occhipinti, who had a vision to revive Sicily’s reputation as a producer of excellent artisanal wines. COS has been following biodynamic practices since 2000 and was also certified as an organic winery in 2007.
Rami is crafted from two local white grape varieties, Grecanico and Insolia, which are grown on their estate vineyards in Fontane and Bastonaca. The grapes are carefully harvested by hand and undergo spontaneous fermentation using wild yeasts in concrete tanks. The skins are left in the tank for 15 days to extract plenty of colour and flavours from the grapes, creating a richly-textured, robust style of orange wine.
On the nose there are heady aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle along with bitter almonds and zingy citrus. The first sip reveals hints of dried apricots, toasted nuts, and a distinctive salty minerality from the soils of Vittoria. Powerful and intense, this is a great wine to keep in the cellar for a few years or serve now alongside flavoursome creamy chicken or fish dishes and rich risottos.