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MWG April 17th tasting (6/6): On and off

with 4 comments

IGT Sicilia 2011, Plumbago, Planeta ($22.20, 11724776)
100% Nero d’Avola from vineyards in west-central Sicily. The grapes are destemmed, lightly crushed and transferred to stainless steel vats for 14 days’ fermentation at 25°C with regular pump-overs. The wine is then racked into stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation before being moved into third- and fourth-fill oak barrels for eight months’ maturation. 13.5% ABV.
Tertiary, leathery and dried herbal along with the expected blackberry, dried cherry and chocolate cake. Smooth and juicy on the surface but with something dark, angular and faintly acrid and metallic underneath. A Bizarro World version of the charmer tasted a couple of weeks earlier. One intrepid taster reports that he bought and drank a bottle the weekend after the tasting and found it quite different from the wine we tasted and quite in line with my description of the earlier bottle. (Buy again? Based on two out of three bottles, yes.)

IGT Sicilia 2010, Nero di Lupo, COS ($27.25, 12135084)
Biodynamically farmed Nero d’Avola from 18-year-old vines grown in southeast Sicily. Temperature-controlled fermentation (30-33°C) with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats. Aged in barrels for 18 to 24 months. Bottled unfiltered. 12% ABV.
Nuanced, savoury, wafting nose of sour cherry, plum, fired mineral and herbs. Fluid and supple – closer in texture and weight to the preceding flight’s Savigny than to the other Neros in this flight. The dark, dusty fruit is sweet at its core and carried on soft tannins and taut acidity. Earth and licorice notes colour the finish. As always, an elegant wine, though this bottle left us wondering whether the 2010 lacks some of the depth and presence of earlier vintages. (Buy again? Maybe.)

IGT Sicilia 2010, Sàgana, Cusumano ($30.00, 11292580)
100% Nero d’Avola from the Sàgana vineyard near Butera in south-central Sicily. The vines average 18 years old. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Fermented on the skins at 28-30°C in stainless steel tanks for ten to 15 days. Transferred to used 20-hectolitre barrels for malolactic fermentation and 12 month’s maturation. 14% ABV.
Blackberry and plum, dark minerals, carob and faint hints of dried mint and tobacco. The densest, biggest-boned and most structured of the three, with a trickle more than a stream of acidity and round tannins that dry on the finish. The fruit is sun-drenched but not jammy. Broad and long but not what you’d call deep. On the up side, it’s impeccably made and shows admirable restraint for a wine that could have been a fruit bomb. On the down side, it doesn’t have a strong sense of place and isn’t exciting or memorable. Might be interesting to revisit in four or five years. (Buy again? Probably not.)

The Sàgana was the last-minute replacement for a corked-to-high-heaven IGT Sicilia 2008, NeroBaronj, Gulfi ($41.25, 12152757) that’s no longer available without a trip to the burbs. In other words, of the 14 wines in the original tasting, five were off. So it goes.

Written by carswell

May 5, 2014 at 18:55

4 Responses

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  1. Too bad, I had been very very impressed by the Gulfi when I tasted it when it arrived in the Cellier a couple of months ago. I noticed that it was just available next to the office, it might be a good idea to try to get a bottle for myself!

    Julien Marchand

    May 5, 2014 at 20:33

    • I was so disappointed that the Gulfi was corked, Julien. Friends who had tasted it loved it, and finding a lone bottle at a store near me was what gave me the idea for a flight that would be a *déclinaison* of Nero d’Avola…

      I did get to taste a couple other Gulfi reds at last week’s RASPIPAV expo, both of which I enjoyed, and a bottle of the private import Carjcante, a blend of Carricante and Albanello, opened a couple of weeks ago was unique, magical, transporting.

      It’s obviously an estate to keep an eye on. Let’s hope the SAQ not only continues to stock the NeroBaronj but also starts carrying some of Gulfi’s other wines.


      May 6, 2014 at 08:01

      • I wish I knew this winery during my visit in sicily last summer, we were actually sleeping 10-15 minutes from this place (at COS, actually). We actually went for supper at Chiaramonte Gulfi on our first night in the region…

        Oh well. I guest I’ll just have to go back…

        Julien Marchand

        May 6, 2014 at 08:07

  2. […] impressive series of wines: Champagne Jacques Lassaigne to start, then COS’s Rami, Frappato, Nero di Lupo, Cerasuolo di Vittoria and Maldafrica, with La Stoppa‘s delightful sparkling Malvasia […]

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