I’ve tasted Sicily’s Nero d’Avola wine before, well at least once in 2010 during my Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) course, and during annual Italian wine tasting events. These two wines below, sent for review, I had never had before and was anxious to continue my education. So, without further adieu, here is your virtual taste.
2013 Stemmari Nero d’Avola, Sicily
Dried black currant, sweet plum, tobacco, mint chocolate, red bell pepper and forest floor on the nose was followed by smooth flavors of red fruit, white pepper and black cherry with a sharp, yet lingering, dry finish. 88 Eve pts.
About (From the tech sheet)
Prince of the enological re-birth of Sicily, the Nero d’Avola is a very important native varietal. Initially found in Siracusa, it is now found in all of the wine-making areas of the island.
Sambuca di Sicilia, in the province of Agrigento, where rich, mature, and structured Nero d’Avola is obtained. It prefers clay-like terrain and is very sensitive to excessive dryness and too much exposure to sunlight. The type of farming is “Espalier”, used with an average density of planting where there are 4500 plants per 2.5 Acres.
100% Nero d’Avola. It is an average to early varietal maturing around the first week of September. This wine is obtained from grapes that have reached perfect aromatic and polyphenolic maturation. Destemming and alcoholic fermentation with the skins occurs for 6-8 days at 22-24 degrees. Malolactic Fermentation occurs with selected bacteria, then finally maturation occurs for 6 months in French barriques.
Color: Deep ruby-red with pleasant reflections of violet. Bouquet: Intense and covered, notes of currant stick out, wild strawberries, and pomegranate. Flavor: Soft and velvety. Distinct characteristics of fruitiness come forth. ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13.5% CHARACTERISTICS: Color: Deep ruby-red with pleasant reflections of violet. Bouquet: Intense and covered, notes of currant stick out, wild strawberries, and pomegranate. Flavor: Soft and velvety. Distinct characteristics of fruitiness come forth.
2012 Tenuta Rapitala “Nuhar” Pinot Nero, Nero d’Avola
Aromas of grape jelly, bruised red plum, cedar and mint leaves; and then in the mouth it was all about dried red currant, lush juicy raspberry, burnt toast and mushroom. 89 Eve pts.
About (From Frederick Wildman and Sons)
Nuhar, meaning flower, is sourced from parcels located in the heart of the vineyard. Here, vines grow on clay soils, sheltered from the wine, and in full sunlight. Two great varieties are planted: Nero d’Avola, which develops rich tannins and body in these conditions, and Pinot Noir, King of Burgundy, which responds well to the heat of Sicily with color, softness and depth unlike anywhere else.
Terroir: Select parcels lie at 1,800 feet above sea level are Guyot-trained on clay soil with yields of 32 quintals per acre.
Vinification: Each variety is manually harvested, first the Pinot Noir at the end of August, then the Nero d’Avola at the end of September. Each parcel is vinified in small, stainless steel tanks. Long maceration at a controlled temperature of 75-82°F allow for the extraction of only the best polyphenols. The Nero d’Avola ages in stainless steel to preserve freshness, while the Pinot Noir matures for nine months in small French barriques. Following blending, the wines are bottle refined.
Bright, ruby-red color and a bouquet with strong aromas of dried fruits. The palate is warm and full with a balanced acidity and elegant tannins. The finish is long and lingering and at this point, we discover again the classic aromas of a Pinot Noir ripened by the hot, Sicilian sun. Pairs well with roasted meats, game and truffle dishes.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com