Melissa Muller was a successful New York chef and restaurant owner who kept returning to the western slopes of Sicily, where her grandmother had lived before coming to America in 1936. Melissa loved the place and did research there among the small towns near Palermo. Eventually, she met a local lad who was taking over as winemaker at the family property. His name was Fabio Sireci, and the winery was Feudo Montoni. She decided to stay.
I first “met” Melissa and Fabio when a large box of Melissa’s handmade pastas and sauces and Fabio’s wine made its way to my doorstep a few years ago. Most recently, I joined them on a group Zoom featuring Feudo Montoni’s Grillo and Nero d’Avola wines. We’ll start this issue of The Dozen with three that are currently available.
2022 Feudo Montoni “Timpa” Sicilia Grillo ($23). Very fragrant with lively flavors of tropical fruits, orange peel and a swatch of green gooseberries.
2021 Feudo Montoni “Lagnusa” Sicilia Nero d’Avola ($23). Very enjoyable with generous, fresh, yet rich, red fruits accentuated by spicy, tangy notes and edgy bitters.
2018 Feudo Montoni “Vruscara” Sicilia Nero d’Avola ($61). Black fruits at first, then emerging juicy cherries and a touch of creaminess – tight in structure, but blossoms with a little time.
And now we continue with our regular programming…
2021 Trenel Macon Villages ($18). Nice for the price – a crisp, refreshing Burgundy Chardonnay with fresh-cut apple flavors and metallic mineral subtext.
2018 Domaine Ostertag “Les Jardins” Alsace Gewurztraminer ($25). Lovely fragrances and flavors, but be ready for a heavier Gewurz with almost syrupy flavors. It could use freshness and acidity.
2020 Trenel “Cuvée Rochebonne” Beaujolais ($21). Enjoyable tart cherry/berry flavors with medium body and a nice finish.
2018 Onx “Reckoning” Templeton Gap Red Wine ($46). Tightly wound black fruit (from Syrah, Petite Sirah grapes) with lots of tannins, but a little hot (15.4%).
2018 Trapiche Terroir Series “Orellana Consulta” Valle de Uco Red Wine ($50). Intense and concentrated, almost jammy fruit of cassis and blackberries, on the edge of being fruit-forward – a delight for those who love big, complex reds.
2018 Domaine Filliatreau “Vieilles Vignes” Saumur-Champigny ($53). Very fresh Cabernet Franc from the Loire with tangy, intense raspberry and blackberry flavors and a good, crisp finish.
2020 Wynns “John Riddoch” Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon ($111). The flagship wine for this red-earth estate is somewhat aggressive, with very tangy and complex cassis, blackberry and blue berry favors and a lot of granular tannins. Definitely long decanting is required.
2020 Trapiche “Iscay” Mendoza Malbec & Cabernet Franc ($115). Somewhat juicy mix of red and black fruits with good structure, for now or aging, and lots of dusty tannins. (A natural though seldom-seen twofer.)
And a little after-dinner sip of spirits…
Blackened x Rabbit Hole Straight Bourbon ($155/750 ml). Calvados cask-finish, cask-strength at 53.3% ABV. Lovely, light spicy aromas followed by a lovely layer of velvety, lightly honeyed flavors and a finish of cask notes and salinity followed by a long aftertaste of honey, vanilla bean, caramel and shortbread – a great sipper.
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.