Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pure Flavor Pure Finesse - Firriato Nero d'Avola "Chiaramonte" 2011

As I've become more and more enamored of Italian wines in general, I've also become more and more a fan of the offerings of Sicily. As Italy's southernmost wine region, Sicily is hot, make no mistake about it, but it also receives adequate rainfall and cooling ocean breezes that help slow ripening. In addition, because of the dry conditions, mildew is less of a problem so chemical fungicides are rarely needed. Nero d'Avola is the most important red grape on the island and wines made from it are now quite prominent on retailer's shelves.

Firrriato is a very large and forward thinking operation with six different estates producing wine. All their vineyard holdings are certified organic. In addition, their philosophy revolves around producing wine that is true to each individual terroir. There is no "house" style of Nero d'Avola, nor of any other varietal that they work with.

Vines of Firriato's Dagala Borromeo Estate
The 2011 "Chiaramonte" Nero d'Avola is not the most current vintage - 2013 is. As such, the '11 has been sitting no my retailer's shelf for a bit and the label for the current vintage is now different than it was for the '11. This bottling comes from Firriato's Dagala Borromeo estate in Northeastern Sicily. The soil here is silt and clay with a layer of stones on top. This wine has beautiful aromatics led by black cherry with black pepper, brown spices and licorice. It's medium-bodied in the mouth with soft cherry fruit, iron and coffee elements. It finishes medium-long with a note of cloves. Firriato is imported by Soilair Selection, a small company out of New York that has a very nice portfolio. This beautiful everyday Nero d'Avola cost me $13.99. Bottoms up!