Monday, November 14, 2016

Sicilian Red Wine: Nero D'Avola

The Stemmari winery is located in the western side of Sicily, Italy's island just off the mainland. It's the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. There, indigenous Sicilian grape varieties are grown, like the white Grillo and the red Nero d'Avola.

The farming is sustainable at Stemmari's vineyards, in two sites, Sambuca di Sicilia and Acate. EMAS 2 certified, they achieved the European credential for environmental sustainability and management in 2002. You may recognize a couple of their other brands, Mezzacorona and Rotari.

The Stemmari Nero d’Avola 2015 is a full varietal wine at 13% abv. It reportedly likes the clay earth of Sambuca di Sicilia.  Once used for adding color to wine, Nero d'Avola is as dark as you like, and richly flavored. The wine is aged six months in French oak barriques.

The Stemmari Nero d'Avola is darker than a serious bruise and offers a nose that means just as much business. Black fruit, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, leather, cigars, black olive, mocha - I mean, what do you not smell? It's a downright savory palate, too. Forest floor leaps out with plums and licorice in tow. There is a distinct mineral presence and the tannins work, if they really have to. They aren't going to get up just to make the sip harsh. This rustic wine will fit naturally with pecorino cheese, arancini, eggplant stew or even pasta and sardines. Stemmari recommends a true Sicilian dish, or course, like Spaghetti alla Norma, with eggplant, and smoked ricotta cheese.