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Welcome to Cru Cellars’ Tour of Sicilian Wines

Sicily is a great place to be in the world of wine.  After millennia of bulk wine production (which was often sent north to Piedmont or Burgundy to enrich lightly-colored & flavored wines in bad vintages), fine wine production has exploded in the last 20 years focused indigenous varieties & styles that emphasize freshness & complexity.

Sicily is a complex place to produce wine.  There are vast differences in climate, rainfall, soil types & grape varieties depending on which part of the island at which you are looking.  We are going to focus on 3 regions: Vittoria in the south, Mount Etna in the east & the central, interior highlands near Palermo.

Red – Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2014 (DOCG)

  • Grapes: 60{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Nero d’Avola 40{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Frappato
  • Sustainably farmed
  • Stainless steel fermented & aged

Cerasuolo di Vittoria, situated near the town Vittoria near Ragusa on the south-eastern coast, is a blend of indigenous varieties Nero d’Avola & Frappato.  The name is derived from ‘Cerasa’ – cherry in Sicilian dialect.  Nero d’Avola is a bold grape that adds body, texture & spicy, gamey dark fruits.  Frappato is much lighter – adding grapey fruit & floral lift.  Cerasuolo di Vittoria is an appellation of the highest order in the Italian wine hierarchy, Denominazione di Origine e Garantita (DOCG).  Planeta is one of the legendary names of modern Sicilian winemaking.  Their Cerasuolo is from two vineyards near Dorilli (between the Mediterranean Sea & the Iblean mountains) dominated by unique mix of red sand & limestone soils.

“Deep red. Sweet, spicy aromas of red cherry, licorice, coffee and marzipan, complicated by minerals and tobacco. At once plump and juicy, sweet and poised, conveying an impressive delicacy to its floral red fruit and stone flavors. The seductive floral tones repeat on the silky finish. A knockout Cerasuolo di Vittoria.”   91 Vinous

White – Tasca d’Almerita ‘Leone d’Almerita’ 2015 (IGT)

  • Grapes: 47{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Catarratto 22{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Pinot Bianco 20{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Sauvignon Blanc 11{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Traminer
  • Sustainably farmed
  • Stainless steel fermented & aged

‘Leone’ is sui generis – a white blend created by the classic Sicilian winery Tasca d’Almerita that blends Catarratto (indigenous to Sicily) with a mixture of international varieties.  The grapes are grown on clay & sandy loam soils at high elevation – up to 2800 feet above sea level!

“Pale straw. Floral and herbal accents complement the aromas of green apple and stone fruits on the subtle nose. Smooth and open-knit, offering lemony orchard fruit flavors and a suggestion of ginger. Finishes bright and classically dry, displaying lingering white flower and Oriental spice notes.”  90 Vinous

Red – Tenuta della Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2015

  • Grapes: 98{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Nerello Mascalese 2{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} Nerello Cappucio
  • Organically farmed
  • Aged 18 months in oak barrels, 20{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} new

Now, we travel to Mt. Etna in eastern Sicily.  Grapes have grown on the slopes of this active volcano for centuries.  A legacy of volcanic eruptions has left deposits of rocky volcanic soils, the sort of easily draining, nutrient-poor earth that is so conducive to fine wine production.

Marco de Grazia, owner of Terre Nere, decided Etna was where he would make his wine, after a long career importing Barolos and Brunellos to the United States.  The 100{8a779485a35888273496f0b72dc634490a1f8dcc316116b0257b1d61f66eee22} organic Terre Nere vineyards are located at extremely high altitudes, ranging from 2100-2900 feet above sea level. The weather at such high altitudes – hot, direct sunlight but cool shade and cold nights – makes the wines of Etna extraordinarily elegant and a real rival to those classic, age-worthy wines from Piedmont and Tuscany.

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