(2021) Made from 70% Nero d’Avola fermented in open top barriques, plus Frappato fermented in amphorae where it remains in contact with the skins for up to 12 months. The wines are then blended and aged for six months in barriques and botti. There's an Amarone-like character here, a little bit dusty and yet with cherry and vanilla in the mix. In the mouth it is nicely elegant, with enough fruit sweetness but plenty of balancing sours and acids, the finish gastronomic and mouth-watering. Unusual and enjoyable.
(2021) Made from 100% Nero d’Avola, aged 10 months in French oak barriques, this has a crowd-pleasing 7.8g/l of residual sugar, which is apparent in the sweet and soft fruity finish. Very dark in colour, it opens with cherry and violet, a hint of chocolate, and pulpy black berry fruit. In the mouth round and caressing because of that sweetness, substantial and fleshy, a little mocha from the oak and enough acidity to counteract the sweetness and modesty of the tannins. If you are not too snobbish about your wines, you'd have to like this charmer.
(2021) A wine I've tasted in a previous vintage and really enjoyed, but I think this one ramps up the pleasure principle even further. The Grillo grapes are partially dried in the sun before fermentation, a technique traditionally used on Sicily for sweet wines, but here the wine fermented to dryness. That creates some unique textures and flavours in the wine, which pours a pale gold colour and opens with honey, nuts and grilled peach. In the mouth there's a leading edge of really sweet, ripe and plump juicy stone fruits, the texture quite creamy and full. A relatively gentle lime acidity gives the balance here, the subtle honeyed note still there into a very decent finish. It's £8.99 as part of a mixed six bottles at Majestic, but for once I think the headline £9.99 would still be money well spent. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) A certified organic white from Sicily, increasingly the source of interesting mid-priced and elegant white wines of character. There's a touch of talcumy, powdery florals on the nose, pear fruit and a litle herby note adding subtle complexity. In the mouth it has real presence for a 12.5% abv wine, a grippy, nectarine and peach skin character, a touch of yellow plum skin too, dry and with a definite saline lick to the acidity, its a wine that balances sweet mid-palate fruit and fresh, salty acidity very nicely. Daily Drinker club members buy for £9.00.
(2020) What a gorgeous little wine, made from the Insolia variety grown at 900 metres altitude in the Marsala region of Sicily, and certified organic. I don't know if this wine sees a little oak, but there is spice and a fine kaolin earthiness as well as copious citrus fruit and some floral, herbynotes. Despite it's lowly 12.5% alcohol, the texture is quite broad and mouth-filling, the spice continues, as well as orange rind and lemon, not lean or tart, quite expansive, but drawn to a fine point by its acidity. Really lovely saline sweep to the finish. £12.60 for Daily Drinker Club members.
(2020) From a vineyard planted in 1975, this is mainly Carricante with small percentages of other local varieties. Though unoaked, five months sur lie with regular batonnage builds texture and aroma, focused on lemon and crunchy red apples, but with a hint of ozone and of something more ripe and peachy too. Any suggestion of peach is soon blown away on the palate, which streaks with vivid lemon and salts, and although there is very good texture adding mouthfeel and creaminess, its that energising thrust of citrus and salinity that drives the long, focused finish. Price and stockist quoted at time of review are for the previous vintage.
(2020) Giovanni Rosso's Etna red is mostly Nerello Mascalese, with small amounts of other local varieties. It is matured in French oak barrels of various sizes. The colour shows a little tawny on the rim, but it is quite ripe and smoothly solid on the nose, a little wisp of exotic, incense-like smokiness and firm black and red fruits. In the mouth the game and truffle character is more pronounced, but there's a piercing freshness about this, a zest of orange or kumquat bitterness, small, firm berries and plenty of spices too. It's a solid and powerful wine, and yet has agility too. Price and stockist quoted at time of review is for the previous vintage.
(2020) From the volcanic slopes of Etna, this is 100% Nerelo Mascalese from 25- to 60-year-old bush vines. It has an orangey hue to the pink colour, and a fascinating nose, immediately quite earthy and complex, plenty of red berries and a ripe, peachy tone, but somehow quite savoury. In the mouth it treads a fine balancing line between that charming and sweet fruit character, and something more gastronomic and juicy, but it's dry and really quite long. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2020) This Sicilian rosé is certified organic, and is a blend of the local Nero D'Avola and Frappato varieties. Santa Tresa say it has taken time to perfect this style - let's broadly describe it as Provençal - given the hot conditions of Sicily. The colour is relatively pale with a little warmth to the hue, the nose delicately cherry-scented, very much focused on small red fruits, a touch of cherry bubblegum. Dry and tangy on the palate, raspberry tartness adds a refreshing twist, a touch of cool watermelon, and a concentrated and bone dry finish. £9.74 as part of a mixed six.
(2019) Certified organic, and wearing its Eco credentials proudly with recycled glass for the bottle and cardboard for packaging, this is Nero d’Avola from Sicily. It has a medium salmon colour and fruity aromas, a little bit of bubble-gummy cherry, some rose-hip lift. In the mouth it is fairly generic I suppose, but then the fruit is bold and juicy, the acidity balances that, and it has clarity in the finish. I might have hoped for a little more from a wine that is obviously very carefully conceived, but it does its job well.