Posted by: tomciocco | July 2, 2010

NERO D’AVOLA – SICILY’S FLAGSHIP RED

Though originally hailing from the extreme southeastern corner of Sicily (south of Siracusa), Nero d’Avola has steadily spread from its homeland to every part of the Mediterranean’s largest island. Gulfi’s vineyards are situated in various sites in the Val di Noto , and in the case of this cuvee, north of Ragusa in a vineyard at 450 meters (about 1400 feet) above sea level. Gulfi’s production qualifies for at least the “agricoltura biologica” (a sort of “organic lite” )designation,  if not for the full organic distinction (depending on the cuvee`), and it shows. Minimally manipulated and “chemicalized” wines always seem to have an intensity and three-dimensionality that more commercially produced wines often lack.

I set this dense wine – already throwing  tartrates and purple sediments – with rigtoni with cauliflower, mixed mushrooms, and ricotta, and then with couple of swordfish steaks (a bit of a splurge!) braised with vegetables, tomato, capers, olives, etc. and thick-cut fried potato chips (like they make in Spanish and Portuguese restaurants) Descriptive words and illustrative photos:

Azienda Agricola Gulfi Nero d’Avola “Rossojbleo” Sicilia IGT 2008

Deep, saturated vermillion purple color; un- or only lightly filtered. Very expressive nose of prune, spice, root beer, a touch of barnyard, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil. The medium full-bodied palate is chunky with intense flavors of plum, black currant, rose water, and malted cocoa. The overall presentation is intensely fruity and quaffable, but in no way simple, with all the juicy acidity for which Nero is well known.

TOM CIOCCO

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