(2017) This organic Nero d'Avola from Sicily is immediately striking because it comes in a tall 'flute' bottle more commonly seen on aromatic white wines. It is dark and powerful stuff, almost syrupy and balsamic in its aromas, but a welter-weight of spicy berry and plum fruit too. The palate is bold and ripe, with plenty of tannin and textural fat in the mouth, a wine with a bit of real heft despite that sweet opulence of the fruit. Good value, especially for Daily Drinker members at £8.10.
(2017) A very handsomely packaged wine, there's a dramatic liquorice and graphite darkness to the aromas, a delightfully juicy palate, sparked by some herb and spice notes, but really it is all about savoury and lightly gamy black fruit into a long, energetic finish with excellent acidity and taut tannins.Fine quality at the price for this wine made from the native Sicilian Nerello Mascalese.
(2016) Sicily's Frappato usually delights and so it is with this light, fresh and buoyant red, a touch of ink and earth adding some seriousness, but it's about the wild strawberry lift and freshness. Dry on the palate, there is some intensity here, the finish showing a little more tannin and seriousness than some, but it remains joyous, buoyant and fruit-filled - just as it should be.
(2015) If you haven't yet discovered the bountiful joys of Frappato, this example from Sicily is an excllent introduction to its cherry-fresh style. There's lipstick and a floral lift on the nose, loads of that cherry-cola fruitiness and then so much super ripe and juicy fruit on the palate. Not serious, but a little star, with bucket and a half of pleasure in every glass.
(2015) The cheapest white of this selection and a wine I really enjoyed. From the excellent Mandrarossa co-op, it is bursting with vivacious fruit aromas, lots of punchy lime and little exotic lychee glimpses, before a palate that is dry but suffused with peachy fruit sweetness. Medium-bodied and deliciously balanced with citrus and a lick of saline in the finish, it's a lovely quaffer and general all-rounder and an absolute steal at the price. £5.95, The Wine Society.
(2015) There are a few examples of Sicily's charming Frappato around now, but this bright purple example is a corker - that is, it is so flamboyantly perfumed and exuberantly fruity, which in many ways is what Frappato does best. The nose brims with buoyant, quite Beaujolais notes of summer berry fruits, hedgerow flowers and exotic hints of clove and spices of the Souk, with a fresh and crisp palate, only 12.5% alcohol, that surprises by being bone dry and savoury, light on its feet with a crunch and just a nip of tannic grip. £7.95, The Wine Society.
(2014) Nerello Mascalese with 17% Nerello Cappuccio and 3% of Carricante. white grapes, co-planted. The vines are 70- 80 years old, which are the youngest on the home property. Components are harvested and vinified separately in steel. Lovely pale ruby colour, delightful briar and coffee nose a touch of dried Porcini, lovely dry woody notes. The palate carries on, with that lovely dry wood and mushroom note, sappiness and light wind-blown earth, very fine tannins start to grip, with very good acidity and a long, spice-infused finish, touches of prune, but not overripe, just the flavour. 90
(2014) DOC Mamertino, from Messina. A blend of Insolia and Grillo, which is pleasing, fruity, with tiny floral and exotic peach down notes to apple fruit and citrus. The palate has open, lightly tropical fruit with nectarine and peach skins giving just a little grip, and lovely freshness. It blooms with a sweet mid-palate, very crowd pleasing and fruit forward, but the tight grip of the cool acidity in the finish is excellent.
(2014) DOC Sicilia, from Ragusa. Back on the lighter, fragrant, flower and herb-touched side of Frappato, with so much elegance and freshness. The palate has a stripe of juicy red liquorice and cherry, and a little black fruit depth too - more cassis and blueberry - but the dry acid and the savoury finish is excellent, and very moreish with its lip-smacking tang.
(2014) All Carricante, from the eastern part of Etna near Milo and vineyards at 850 metres. Pre-phylloxera vines of 100 to 120 years old. No oak. Delicacy from the first sniff, with minerality and the most gentle, floral-touched pear aroma - not the peardrop of cold ferment, but fine, soft pear skins and juice. There is something herb-touched and very grippy, it is the thrilling, nervous austerity that is lovely here.