From the hot, dry, challenging 2012 vintage across Italy’s south and islands, look for success stories including the 2012 Cusamano Benuara Sicilia IGP $18, Nero d’Avola with 30% Syrah, a nice crossover style for glass pours and the holiday table.
The 2012 De Lucia Falanghino Sannio DOC $22 from Campania, is a round, creamy, softly-textured and citrusy wine with hints of yellow rose and Strega. Sannio, inland near the border of Molise, has been producing wines from this grape since Pre-Roman times.
The benchmark 2012 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio DOC $18, from high elevation vineyards near Irpinia, is slightly richer, more intensely minerally, and has a bitter orange note that would complement a similar flavors in a dish, such as prawns with orange and coriander or spaghetti with orange and anchovy. From clay and limestone soils of sun-drenched Puglia, the 2012 Castello Monaci Acante Fiano Salento IGT $16 gives a much fruitier profile than it does in Campania, with grilled pineapple, quince, and roasted almond notes. Try this with pasta with milder Padron peppers, olive oil, and slivered almonds or pine nuts, and grated Grana Padana. The fragrant, peachy and slightly nutty 2012 Cantine Dolianova Prendas Vermentino de Sardegna DOC $15 will pair beautifully with char-grilled fish with its bright, juicy fruit and clean finish.
|Alessio, Francesca, and Santi Planeta|
The 2012 Planeta La Segreta Sicilia DOC $14, a blend of 50% Grecanico, 30% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier, and 10% Fiano, was a pleasant surprise considering it’s turquoise screw cap and simple label, which, hand in hand with its new DOC should help it find many homes here. It is light with lemon, slivered almond and apricot notes – very appealing as a starter, or with lighter fish and shellfish dishes, especially more delicate, sweeter, and more softly textured fish.
The organically-farmed 2012 Masseria del Feudo
Bianco Inzolia-Grillo Il Giglio Sicilia DOC $16 is fresh and snappy with that little hint of white flower, petrol, and hazelnut found more commonly in the north, and is elegant enough to pour or pair in the most formal dining rooms. I wouldn’t say that about this slightly feistier one however. If you haven’t tried Italy’s first DOCG Rosato, here is your chance. The 2012 Rivera Pungirosa Castel del Monte Bombino Nero DOCG $16 is deeply fruity with notes of rosehip and white mushroom and works well with light dishes such as orrechiette with broccolini.
The 2011 Tenuta Rapitala Campo Reale Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT $14 is a soft, mellow and floral-accented expression of Sicily’s finest grape, and pairs nicely with pizza, sausages or roast chicken. Mantonico Bianco is by many accounts the offspring of Soave’s Garganega and a possible parent of local Gaglioppo and Sicily’s Nero Mascallese. More often made in a sweet passito style, this dry, round, soft and slighty bitter white, the 2011 Statti Mantonico Calabria IGT $16, illustrates the rich potential of this often overlooked region.
Very internationally appealing, the 2010 Donnafugata Sedara Sicilia IGP $15, a
Nero d’Avola blend with international varieties, gives notes of Ben and Jerry Cherry Garcia and a soft lush texture. One of Sicily’s benchmark Nero d’Avola’s, the elegant, more formal 2008 Donnafugata Mille e una Notte Contessa Entellina DOC $85 is at the opposite end of the spectrum, with extensive selection and barrel aging in mostly new French oak. Another, the powerful and earthy 2008 Tasca D'Almerita Rosso del Conte Contea di Sclafani DOC $68 is also aged in French oak, and able to age gracefully for 15 or more years.
Sleek and powerful like a Chateau Mouton-Cadet but powerfully seductive like a Fire-engine red Ferrari, Campania’s 2005 Quintodecimo Vigna Quintodecimo Taurasi Riserva DOCG $148 is a very modern, organically-farmed Taurasi, made with the world’s most tannic grape, Aglianico. It is still very young and would benefit from decanting before serving. Pair with your richest meat dishes. The winery also has a slightly less intense version, the 2009 Quintodecimo Terra d’Eclano Aglianico Irpinia DOC $50. Also check out newly imported 2010 Villa Raiano Aglianico Campania IGT $22, a rich, velvety and slightly aggressive red with chocolate covered cherries, earth, leather, spice, and a beautiful sage/Fernet Branca finish.
© Copyright 2014 Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, Planet Grape LLC. All Rights Reserved.