Sicily, Part I
A recent trip to Persephone’s island afforded the opportunity to taste dozens of wines made from indigenous varietals, all of which captured the sun drenched, arid landscape of Sicily, and gave evidence of the cultural and enological diversity to be found there.
Chiara Planeta, one of fifteen cousins who operate the family winery at Sambuca di Sicilia, believes that Sicilian winemakers are at a critical point in elevating the image and quality of their wines in the international market. This was an opinion echoed by her colleagues in various parts of Sicily, from Etna to Trapani. If the following examples are representative of the future of Sicilian wines , they are on the proper course.
Benanti 2006 Nerello Mascalese “Rosso di Verzella” …Dense forest berries carry waves of flavor to a smooth, dark finish. Just enough rustic edge, with the acidity usually found in Etna wines.
Duca di Castelmonte 2009 Grillo “Notorious”…Rich golden color, slightly viscous look and texture. Soft citrus balanced with herb and mineral laced peaches. Full flavored and vibrant.
Castellucimiano 2007 Perricone…Somewhat floral with a touch of anise on the nose. Layers of dark cherries, berries and currants emerge. Persistant, with savory tannins and the typical Sicilian level of food friendly acidity.
Baglio Fici 2008 Inzolia…Mildly viscous and a mouthfeel that is almost amabile. Extremely ripe peaches and melons, layers of exotic fruitiness. Mildly herbaceous with dried flower aromas.
Castellucimiano 2009 Catarratto…Clean pure nose and flavors of apples, citrus fruits, pears, and native wild underbrush. Crisp, precise attack leads to a persistantly fruity finish with cleansing acidity.
Foraci 2008 Grillo…Floral, semi-tropical scents with hints of hazelnut. the palate is enlivened by zesty acidity, picks up some floral elements midway along with a “green” quality to the mildly ripe fruits. A bitter almond finish reminiscent of a Verdicchio.
Planeta 2009 Grecanico “Alastro“…Prior to this vintage “Alastro” was a blend with Chardonnay. The ’09 is fuller and more interesting, just as dense but more rounded, with notable structure for a white. White fruits, minerals, and floral nuances might remind some of Soave, but this has more staying power.
Planeta 2009 Passito di Noto…A lush Moscato dessert wine. Loads of aromas and flavors – apricots, orange peel, dates, a touch of vanilla. Dense and creamy with hints of pastry spices, wildflowers. A lively burst of acidity keeps the sweetness in check and cuts through the concentreted texture.
Abraxas 2008 “Kuddia Del Gallo“…WOW!! A dry version of Zibbibo, the Moscato used in Marsala. Has all the flowers and fruits of a passito, though not as concentrated. Lightly perfumed apricots and orange blossoms. Intense, yet uplifted by refreshing acidity. More floral as a secco. Unique and interesting, even for Sicily,drinks full for a white.
Part II next week…some more tasting notes and observations.