The Dozen Vol. 25 No. 10 Wine

The Dozen – Sicily, No Surprises

We should be accustomed to routinely finding enjoyable wines from Italy's big island.

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It is human nature, especially for American wine drinkers, to be surprised at finding good-to-great wines from a region that previously had few exports to this country.  “If it isn’t available here in the wine drinking center of the world, then there must be something wrong with it – not ready for prime time,” the thought goes.

It was that way with Sicily, even though we learned in geography class that the Greeks, Romans, and Phoenicians all controlled the island at one time or another and planted grapes there.  And so, no longer surprised to find Sicilia DOC wines available and routinely good, The Dozen features eight of them – and we think you’ll like them.

But not to be missed are two Inama whites – the Burgundies of northern Italy – and two delightful Newton reds, as that winery bounces back after being wiped out by fires in 2020.

2019 Principi di Butera “Carizza” Insolia Sicilia ($17). Good flavors of cheese whey and dried apples, very alive, though not juicy, with a lovely, lingering finish.

2020 Tascante “Buonora” Etna Bianco ($20). Tart green fruit and a little edginess – not quite knit together.

2020 Di Giovanna “Vurria” Sicilia Grillo ($22). A good, basic food wine, crisp and dry, with flavors of whey and dried apple chips.

2019 Inama “Carbonare” Soave Classico ($28). For some years now, Inama has been making white Burgundy-quality wines, and they keep getting better. This one has eau-de-vie style apple flavors, good minerality, and excellent structure.

2019 Inama “Foscarino” Soave Classico ($28). My favorite of the two – lovely floral and mineral aromas with almost-haunting flavors of stone fruit, blood orange, and stony minerality. Medium body, but a crisp finish.

2018 Maggiovini “Vigna di Pettineo” Sicilia Frappato Vittoria ($11). Very nice – spicy and red fruity, but well-balanced and light-bodied with a crisp, tangy finish.

2017 Stemmari “Cantodoro” Sicilia Rosso Riserva ($13). Some hints of caramel and tobacco to go along with dark cherry-berry flavors – a nice, savory style with dusty tannins.

2016 Ermes “Epicentro” Sicilia Nero d’Avola Riserva ($18). Lush fruit, lean finish – concentrated dark berry flavors with a very perfumed, powdery finish.

2019  Ermes “Quattro Quarti” Sicilia Nero d’Avola Apassimento ($18). From dried fruit, it has lovely perfumed, bright-raspberry fruit with good finishing acidity.

2014 Principi di Butera “Deliella” Sicilia Nero d’Avola ($38). Rich, tangy dark-berry flavors with old-world barrel notes and light tannins.

2018 Newton Unfiltered Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($60). Quite good, with lots of rich, dark fruitiness, savory notes, and a thick but tart finish.  Unfiltered wines are an increasing rarity, and I would like to open this one in a few years after it has “thrown some mud” on the sides of the bottle.

2018 Newton “The Puzzle” Napa Valley Red Wine ($125). Excellent dark, full-bodied berry fruit, some savory flavors, and a very lean finish. Decant first.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Feature photo: Sicilian vineyard

Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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