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Dale Williams

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WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Dale Williams » Thu May 29, 2008 12:34 pm

With a couple of vegetarian kids as houseguests for a couple of nights, Betsy decided to go with a pasta dish last night- an eggplant/tomato sauce recipe by Giuliano Hazan as reinterpretted by Robin. Recipe seemed more Southern Italian to me, so thought it was a good time for the
2004 Feudo Montoni Nero d’Avola. I'm not a huge fan of Sicilian wines in general, but I like Montoni because it doesn't seem as "international" as many NdA, without apparent wood and with good acidity for the south. Black and red cherries, a hint of cocoa, a little flinty note. Gets more floral with time. This really strikes me in a good way. Not especially complex, but quite satisfying. About $13. Will get more. B+

Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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Oswaldo Costa

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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Oswaldo Costa » Thu May 29, 2008 3:40 pm

Glad to hear there's at least one Sicilian red that can be liked :wink:

I like the white wines made by Planeta (Chardonnay, Cometa, La Segreta), but don't care for their reds, or for any other Sicilian red that I've ever had...
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by James Dietz » Thu May 29, 2008 4:23 pm

I have enjoyed some nice stickies.. Hauner, for example
Cheers, Jim
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Dale Williams » Thu May 29, 2008 4:43 pm

Oswaldo,
I've also liked a Frappato (though grape name makes me think of Starbucks), but don't think that's for everyone. Cute pic of Olivia.

James,
is that a Malvasia? Marsala? Something else?
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by James Dietz » Thu May 29, 2008 4:46 pm

Dale.. yes, Malvasia....
Cheers, Jim
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Jim Hickman » Thu May 29, 2008 4:55 pm

You might try the 2006 Villa Pozzi Nero d'Avola. Once again, not a complex wine, but very nice with pasta or pizza. At around $10, it's also nicely priced.

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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Clinton Macsherry » Thu May 29, 2008 4:58 pm

Dale Williams wrote:...I'm not a huge fan of Sicilian wines in general, but I like Montoni because it doesn't seem as "international" as many NdA....


I agree that many Sicilian wines show a strong international bent, although some can nonetheless be darn tasty (Planeta's "Burdese" Cabernet Sauvignon, to cite a recent example). A couple I've tasted in the last few months that seem to show more character, at least in the sense that they're not blatantly spoofulated, are the Duca di Salaparuta "Duca Enrico" NdA (high-end bottling by Corvo) and the Cusumano Syrah (more meaty and peppery than Shiraz-y, thanks be, and a good value at $11). Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a NdA-Frappato blend, is probably a little more distinctly Sicilian, if you can find it. It's the only Sicilian DOCG. I've had maybe three bottles total, and claim no expertise, but it strikes me as an Italian cousin to a spicy-juicy Cotes du Rhone.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Oliver McCrum » Thu May 29, 2008 7:02 pm

I tasted a lot in the Sicilian area of Vinitaly this year, and travelled there for almost a week in April. My sense is that Sicily is moving in the same direction as the rest of Italy, which is to say towards indigenous grapes and wine types and away from International Boringwine. Feudo Montoni is indeed very different from most Nero d'Avola, it's at very high elevation (which gives better acidity, as you point out), and the wine is made in a very clean but not messed-with style.

The most impressive and 'fine' wine from Sicily IMO is Etna Rosso. Cerasuolo di Vittoria can be delicious but the fact that it's the first DOCG in Sicily just shows how bonkers the system is, it's sort of like Cotes de Rhone being officially superior to Cote-Rotie...

NB I will probably start importing Feudo Montoni soon.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Dale Williams » Thu May 29, 2008 9:13 pm

Jim, will keep an eye out.
Clinton, $50+ for Nero d'Avola! Yikes! I won't experiment there, will have to taste before buying.
Oliver, you seem to have an excellent lineup. Do you only distribute on West Coast? I've liked several wines that you seem to carry, but here they have different importers. Any Etnas in particular you recommend?

And anyone, a little confusion re Cerasuolo dV. I've had a rose and a red Cerasuolo from Abruzzi (the latter a Montepulciano, I think). What does the word mean?
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Steve Edmunds » Thu May 29, 2008 10:14 pm

Dale; one other Sicilian red I think you might find of interest that hasn't been mentioned is Aetna Rosso, which, at its best, can be shockingly lovely and fine. The main grape involved is Nerello Mascalese. One also sometimes finds one with some Nerello Capuccio (sp? --help, Oliver!) The first one I had gave me as much pleasure and surprise as the first fine Burgundy I tasted 36 years ago in my earliest days in the wine business.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Robert Reynolds » Fri May 30, 2008 12:21 am

I really like the Colosi Sicilia Rosso (100% Nero D`Avola). And it's under $10. 8)
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Keith M » Fri May 30, 2008 12:36 am

Jim Hickman wrote:You might try the 2006 Villa Pozzi Nero d'Avola. Once again, not a complex wine, but very nice with pasta or pizza. At around $10, it's also nicely priced.

I second that emotion on the Villa Pozzi.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Dale Williams » Sat May 31, 2008 6:39 pm

Steve Edmunds wrote:Dale; one other Sicilian red I think you might find of interest that hasn't been mentioned is Aetna Rosso, which, at its best, can be shockingly lovely and fine. .


Steve, I think Oliver's Etna is the more modern spelling of same wine. Now you both have me curious. Any particular producers?
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Victorwine » Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:22 am

Michael Skurnik imports a couple of nice Etna Rosso’s from Tenuta delle Terre Nere.

Salute
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Oliver McCrum » Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:15 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
Steve Edmunds wrote:Dale; one other Sicilian red I think you might find of interest that hasn't been mentioned is Aetna Rosso, which, at its best, can be shockingly lovely and fine. .


Steve, I think Oliver's Etna is the more modern spelling of same wine. Now you both have me curious. Any particular producers?


Steve's going Greek on us.

Benanti makes some nice wine, both white and red, and at the risk of immodesty the Biondi Etna 'Outis' that I import is excellent. This is also available in NY and perhaps other markets. Salvo Foti, an outstanding enologist from Etna, also makes his own wine and I believe Dressner is importing it. I think it's called Foti.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Oliver McCrum » Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:21 pm

Dale Williams wrote:Jim, will keep an eye out.
Clinton, $50+ for Nero d'Avola! Yikes! I won't experiment there, will have to taste before buying.
Oliver, you seem to have an excellent lineup. Do you only distribute on West Coast? I've liked several wines that you seem to carry, but here they have different importers. Any Etnas in particular you recommend?

And anyone, a little confusion re Cerasuolo dV. I've had a rose and a red Cerasuolo from Abruzzi (the latter a Montepulciano, I think). What does the word mean?


Thank you, Dale. Many of the wines I import, perhaps most of them, are also available on the East Coast.

'Cerasuolo' means two different things in two different areas of Italy. In the Abruzzo it means Rosé; in Sicily it is used for the fruity blend of Frappato and Nero d'Avola called Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which is very distinctive and can be very good. I don't believe there are any red Cerasuolo from the Abruzzo, but it can make a pretty dark rosé.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Dale Williams » Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:49 pm

Thanks, I just ordered the last couple Biondi "Outis" that Chambers St has.
I probably misremembered the red as being Cerasuolo, the last one was a definitely a rosé, from Illuminati
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Cliff Rosenberg » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:43 pm

Dale Williams wrote:Thanks, I just ordered the last couple Biondi "Outis" that Chambers St has.


Hope you like it. I thought it was delicious.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:26 pm

Archive search! Have just opened/decanted (?) the `06 Cusumano Syrah and will post notes on Wine Focus asap. Excited here at Doris Ranch.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Mark Kogos » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:12 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:
'Cerasuolo' means two different things in two different areas of Italy. In the Abruzzo it means Rosé; in Sicily it is used for the fruity blend of Frappato and Nero d'Avola called Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which is very distinctive and can be very good. I don't believe there are any red Cerasuolo from the Abruzzo, but it can make a pretty dark rosé.


Ah this is interesting. One of my favourite wines last year was produced by Azienda Agricola COS. Not speaking Italian, I initially thought Cerasuolo di Vittoria was the name of the producer. :oops: It was only when I came across the wine in a book entitled "1001 Wines to try before you die" that I realised the winemakers name was Cos. Anyhow here is a write up I found on the winery today from the StarTribune in Minn.

"From Feudo Arancio's vineyards this spring, I made my way with another writer to the Azienda Agricola COS in the Vittoria region near Ragusa in southern Sicily. The drive, in pouring rain, took hours. When we arrived at COS, a fire roared in the fireplace. But owner Giusto Occhipinti wasn't expecting us until the next day; we were crashing a wine-filled supper he was having with friends. Being Italian, he assumed we were hungry and immediately set to feeding us.

Besides being a gracious host, Occhipinti is one of the stars of the contemporary Sicilian wine scene. A trained architect, he is a traditionalist as a winemaker, but he also has modern aesthetic sensibilities. He makes great wine by keeping it simple, adding virtually nothing to his wines but patience and attention.

The house specialty is cerasuolo di Vittoria, an officially recognized wine style generally made by blending locally grown nero d'avola with a more delicate red grape called frappato. Cerasuolo is one of the few officially recognized blended red wines from Sicily, and the good ones are truly beautiful wines -- medium-bodied, fragrant, elegant and full of red fruit.

All COS wines are made naturally, unfiltered and with very little sulfur added. One COS wine, Pithos, is even fermented in Greek-style terra cotta amphorae, which is about as traditional as winemaking gets. COS also makes a couple of excellent straight nero d'avolas. As rustic as these wines may sound, they're also some of the best made in Sicily, proving that respect for tradition and excellence can go hand in hand."

Well worth a try.
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Mark S » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:52 am

Steve Edmunds wrote:...Aetna Rosso...


Steve, is this an attempt by insurance companies to move away from subprime-CDC's?? :wink:
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Ian Sutton » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:46 pm

Mark Kogos wrote: One COS wine, Pithos, is even fermented in Greek-style terra cotta amphorae, which is about as traditional as winemaking gets. COS also makes a couple of excellent straight nero d'avolas. As rustic as these wines may sound, they're also some of the best made in Sicily, proving that respect for tradition and excellence can go hand in hand."

Well worth a try.

Mark
Wouldn't you know it, we tried this very wine just over a week ago (At the offline Nayan Gowda organised before he left for Aus & NZ).

I thought it was really interesting (and not just for the production methods). It has no great structure and IIRC we had the 2006 which was definitely ready. Yet... there was huge complexity to the wine, and for me the interesting challenge was to the general rule that typically great, complex wines need age. This was hugely complex and ready to drink.

They sound great hosts as well!

regards

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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Mark Kogos » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:34 pm

Ian

Absolutely a small world. Did you try the Pithos or the CdV. If you are trying the CdV, I am told by my very able wine shop that it is better to seek out the 2005 than the 2006. The Decanter mag also had a big write up on them in the Italy supplement either this year or last. i really like the Decanter supplements. I was reading the one on California last night. It has an interesting article in Cal PN and the Rhone wines from Paso Robles.

Cheers
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Re: WTN: A Sicilian red I like!

by Tim York » Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:43 am

I share the admiration of others for the unique finesse, in Sicily, coming from Etna - see my notes on Terre Nere a few months ago.

I am glad to hear about a less internationalised Nero d'Avola. I have often felt that this variety had potential if only the producers would let it speak its own language.
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