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Vittoria! Vittoria!

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In Italian, cerasuolo means cherry-red. The word also appears in the names of two appellations. Cerasuolo d’Abrruzo is a Multepulciano-based rosé from central Italy. Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a red wine made in southeast Sicily, specifically in the province of Ragusa and parts of Caltanissetta and Catania.

Though Cerasuolo di Vittoria has been made since the 17th century, it wasn’t granted DOC status until 1974. Since 2004, it has been Sicily’s only DOCG. By law, Cerasuolo di Vittoria must be a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, with the former constituting between 50 and 70%. Within the DOCG is a large zone, centred around Vittoria and including the original DOC, whose wines are entitled to the Classico designation provided they have been matured 18 months or longer.

Viewing Cerasuolo di Vittoria as the wine with the deepest roots in the region and the most expressive of the regions’ terroir, COS has made it the estate’s flagship.

Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico 2011, Azienda Agricola COS ($34.75, 12484997)
Nero d’Avola (60%) and Frappato (40%) from organically farmed vines. Fermented in stainless steel tanks on the skins and with indigenous yeasts. Matured 15 months in 20 and 40-hectolire oak foudres and several months in bottle. Unfiltered. Reducing sugar: 2.7 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Cherry with a hint of pastry and overtones of balsam and spice. Medium-bodied. Fresh and fruity from start to finish, laced with bright acidity, graced by silky tannins. A mineral backdrop and touch of earthiness add welcome dimension. The long finish is appetizingly tart. Not what you’d call complex but so approachable and drinkable. (Buy again? Yes, though not without wishing it were a little less pricey.)

Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico 2011, Delle Fontane, Azienda Agricola COS ($79.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Nero d’Avola (60%) and Frappato (40%) from organically farmed vines around 20 years old grown in the Delle Fontane vineyard. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in glazed cement tanks. Matured 15 months in 20- and 40-hectolire oak foudres for the Nero d’Avola and in glazed concrete tanks for the Frappato. After blending, the wine is matured several additional months in the bottle. Unfiltered. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
A nose to get lost in: cherry again, a whack of limestone and overtones of earth, dark minerals, marzipan, flowers (rose?) and dried herbs (bay?). A sip reveals a gorgeous surface and considerable depth, a wine denser but somehow not heavier than the estate Classico. The fruit is sweet yet the wine is dry. The layers of flavour – more like veils, actually – include minerals, tar, licorice and mushroom. Fine tannins and sleek acidity are in perfect balance. The structure, texture, complexity and weight are very Burgundian, in fact, though the aromas and flavours are anything but. The finish goes on and on. Gorgeous. I could drink this forever. (Buy again? If you can spare the pennies, sure.)

And, yep, the post’s title is another opera reference, this time to the second act of Tosca.

MWG April 14th tasting: flight 5 of 6.

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Written by carswell

August 20, 2015 at 14:40

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