Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wine in Italy - 325 bottles and counting

An occasional post for wine enthusiasts....

Sicilian Wine
The words Sicily, wine and Greece are not usually found in the same sentence, but during a 10 day jaunt through parts of Sicily, this was the case.  Firstly, it's true that wine from Sicily doesn't have the best of reputations, and certainly there are hectolitres of wine that fall into the bulk wine, low quality category.  But what's exciting is that many newer producers have bought land and planted vineyards, particularly along the slopes of Mt Etna, where the altitude, terrain and climate are producing some of Italy's best new white wines.

But let's talk about Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which is the only DOCG wine in all of Sicily, made from a blend of Frappato grape and Nero d'Avola grape (in fact, we stayed in a rustic house 5km from the nondescript town of Avola, the ancient home of the Nero d'Avola grape).  One of the best, and certainly interesting, producers is called Cos.  Fascinated with ancient winemaking practices, the three young winemakers decided to ferment their wine in amphoras, those clay jars used by the ancient Greeks.  I believe that using the amphoras isn't allowed under DOCG rules, so they make 2 wines, the DOCG wine, fermented in concrete tanks, and the other non-DOCG wine fermented in amphoras!

Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2010
18 euros

Even the shape of the bottle is unusual, it's the bottle shape one usually sees in fortified wines!

We tasted this DOCG version over a wood fired BBQ of pork chops and grilled vegetables. While I didn't take tasting notes, I remember the pale red transparent colour, cherryfruit  and floral aromas and a light to medium bodied palate.  

Overall, it's a well-balanced wine in an easy to drink, uncomplicated style.

Vino di casa - What we're drinking at home...

Terre di Matraja
Tuscan Coast IGT Rosso
8 euros (winery discount)

I must confess a conflict of interest - the winemaker Mirko, is in my recently finished winetasting class.  On an early spring day with plenty of sunshine, we had a class excursion to this winery in the Lucca hills, and this predominantly sangiovese-heavy blend is the workhorse of the winery.  Funnily enough, much of the class wasn't a fan of the wine, whilst I enjoyed the deep purple hue, heavily perfumed nose and honest rustic-ness of the wine.  It was no surprise to learn the vineyard was organically managed.

A few days later, my dozen order arrived on the doorstep - many thanks Mirko!

 .....and Something Better
Il Bandito 2011 Riesling DOC
10 euros

Technically, this wine doesn't really belong in the 'something better' category, but both Melanie and I enjoyed it so much, it gets a mention here. Purchased from near Pavia, 100km south of Milan, where I was so excited to stumble across my first Italian riesling, as it's not a commonly grown variety here.  Near Pavia, riesling has it's own DOC appellation, so I asked a friend to choose me a quality example.

Il Bandito (the Bandit) is light yellow, with aromas of pear and honeysuckle.  On the palate, it is not as dry as Clare Valley rieslings, perhaps lacking acid but with a flavour spectrum of melon, pear and florals.  It has a pleasing viscosity and fullness that suggests some maceration on skins if not aging in large barrels.

 * 325 bottles and counting.... is the number we've consumed at home (excluding restaurants) since arriving on 12 April 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment