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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sicily Uncorked: D'Alessandro's 2008 Nero d'Avola

“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself” ~ Galileo
You may have noticed that my blog has been on a bit of a hiatus of late and a big part of the reason, has to do with the final preparations for an upcoming trip to Spain.

Oh and then there's work, coupled together with a quick hiking trip to Bryce Canyon with my son. Which means, I've been a busy boy and I know poor me right, it's a tough job but someone has to do it.  


Not to mention this blog is not a paid-gig, just a hobby for the most part, but it's one that does come with some vinous perks every now and then. But, now that I'm caught up once more, I'll be working on getting a truck-load of reviews out onto the vino-super-highway in the next couple of days, thanks ever so much for anyone that may take a moment to read my musings on vitis-vinifera.

That said, it's high time to hop back in the wine-wagon, so sit back and buckle up, as we cross the pond over to Sicily. In today's review spotlight is a bottle of Nero d'Avola from my friends at D'eAlessandro's whose relatively new winery was started in 2006 can be found on the beautiful southern coast of Sicily near Agrigento.

A city with a rich history harkening back to what many historians call Greece's golden-age near the site of Akragas, known as the most beautiful city of mortals. A isle I will be visiting in just a few weeks, as I depart from Barcelona to do a little cruising, hopefully no bruising, like the lumps I got on my visit to Kolob Canyon [ouch]. Honestly, my elbow [swelled up like a black and blue melon] really paid the price for my brash actions, in attempting to get a better picture.

I know it's not a household name and many of you may be scratching your collective noggins thinking Nero who or what? Though you may not be familiar with the name, actually it's one of Italy's more noted indigenous varieties beyond the famous and more well known Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, its better known siblings in the north from Piedmont and Tuscany.

This is the type of wine, which will reward the adventurous vino-sapiens in the audience looking for something a little different, than the typical Chianti. Many wine-geeks tend to think of this wine as there go-to "pizza" wine. A fact not lost on me, as it's often a great pairing partner with many styles of pizza. But I would encourage folks to look beyond this obvious pairings [the low hanging fruit], I'd also give it a swirl at your next barbeque or the next time you have hand-beer-battered fish tacos, trust me on that one.

The Grape: Nero d'Avola is a red wine grape which has achieved much acclaim in Avola, Sicily; the name means "black from Avola." It's really recent history, [some twenty years] that this varietal has not had share the stage with other grapes as a mere bit player. Typically in northern Italy and France, Nero d'Avola was used in the past as a blending grape, for other wines which needed a boost color or structure.

However, left on its own for a solo-act, Nero d'Avola is capable of producing wine with a higher abv percentage, biting tannins and what many call a blackish color. Making for wine experience, that's mostly unapproachable in its youth. However today with the onset of modern viticulture and nouveau winemaking techniques, this wild, seemingly unpredictable grape has been tamed for the better. This Nero d' Avola I sampled, appears to be crafted in a new world style, but still has a nice bit of old-world earthiness woven into it, wonderfully so in my opinion.

Swirl, Sniff and Slurp: In the glass a warm colored core of plummy goodness filling my glass. Sticking my fat half Irish nose in the glass, I experienced dark ripe cherries, a bit of cigar and plum. After the first splash down this medium bodied wine carries a tasty mix of black cherry and blackberry-like fruit flavors that float effortlessly among the well integrated tannins, that leave my mouth with a pleasant touch of ripe fruit. The easy-going 13% abv creates warmth without being overwhelming, making for a great foodie type of wine that is as easy on the wallet and great wine to uncork for mid-week slurping.

Price, Purchase and Score: I found this same wine I reviewed at Sonoma Wine and Spirits, who's selling it for just under $20. I gave this wine a solid 87 points, what some call a "B+" on a grading scale. Well folks, that's all I got for you today, I hope you will give this wine a swirl, please let me know what you think. Until next time, sip long and prosper, cheers!

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a media sample for the review process.
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