Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Put Some Sicily On Your Holiday Table

If you are still looking for a nice red wine to place on your holiday table, you should look toward Sicily. The Italian island’s Nero d’Avola grapes are something to cherish, and Morgante has a great one that exceeds expectations.

The Morgante family’s estate is on the western side of Sicily and the vineyard is at a fairly high elevation. Rain from mid-August into September delayed ripening, so extra hang time for the grapes was put to good use. This 100% Nero d’Avola bottling was fermented in steel and saw just a brief maturation period in neutral French oak. Alcohol comes in at 14.5% abv.

Deep in color and fragrant on the nose, the Morgante Sicilia Nero d’Avola 2013 dark, ruby red from Sicily offers a powerful set of aromas: cassis, black olives, cigar box, leather, anise and smoke all come around fairly quickly. This is one of those wines I run across from time to time that smells so good I almost forget to drink it. Almost. The palate is dark and savory. Blackberry and black plum are the most notable fruit flavors, but the Morgante is all about the trimmings. There is a muddy forest floor component and, if you are new to wine, rest assured that it’s a good thing. Minerality comes in abundance and there is a hint of sage there, too, with notes of tea, coffee and root beer finding their way through.

You can pair this with a holiday roast - the tannins are firm enough - or you can go with lamb or goose successfully. Try it with a smelly cheese if you want to really take the experience as far as you can, or a nice sweet cheese to match opposites.