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This Week's Tasting
Gems from Southern Italy, Sicily + Calabria
July 21, 2021
Peter writes, "This week we have selected six wines of ancient origin that are unique to their lands of origin. Three are from Calabria, originally called “Enotria Tellus” (Land of Wine) by the ancient Romans. The other three are from Sicily, where they have been growing vines for 5000 years."
We will begin with the 2019 Statti Calabria Greco, which according to Alberto and Antonio Statti, is their stab at producing living energy. It is an excellent and versatile dry white. Next, we will go over to Siracuse in Sicily to meet Sebastiano Gulino. Among other things, Gulino has recovered the Albanello grape variety. The 2019 Cantine Gulino Pretiosa Albanello is a white with refreshing salinity that does any seafood, especially oysters. Cantine Gulino dates back to1793, but the family was farmers here for much longer. We do not have much left of the third white, which is from Librandi back in Calabria. Paolo and Raffaele Librandi make their wines in Ciro Marina on the coast of the Ionian Sea. The ancient Mantonico grape makes 2016 Librandi Efeso an expressively aromatic wine with a rich palate.
Librandi also made the first red. The 2015 Librandi Duca San Felice Riserva is made with 100% Gaglioppo grapes from a single vineyard. These are the best and oldest Gaglioppo vines on the property, and this wine could be the poster child for reds from Calabria. Next, we will go to the heart of Sicily in the central mountains, where we find Feudo Montoni. This property dates back to1469. Today Fabio Sereci and his wife cultivate the farm with a wide eye to history. The 2017 Feudo Montoni Perricone del Core is also from a single vineyard. Core means heart in Sicilian dialect, which is the shape of the vineyard. Perricone is one of the original red grapes planted in Sicily, and the wine is fresh, fine, and elegant.
Then we will pop up to the Aeolian islands off the coast of Messina. Nino Caravaglio has his winery on Salina, where he also grows what I will maintain are the finest capers on the planet. The vines for the 2015 Caravaglio Nero du Munti are actually inside the volcanic caldera of the next island Lipari. Its Corinto Nero grape variety came from Greece thousands of years ago.
All of these wines are from family producers with long histories. All are organic, and all are from properties with great biodiversity, including grapes, olives, arable crops, citrus, forests, and both wild and domestic animals. The wines reflect all of this.
2019 Statti Calabria Greco: Bright straw. According to Alberto, this wine is emotional and powerful but safer, like racing an Alfa Romeo Duetto. Why not? You will more likely find rich melon and citrus with a nutty finish and balanced palate. Very Very Good Plus 18.99/bottle, , case 15.99
2019 Gulino Pretiosa Albanello: Straw, green highlights. Elegant, fresh, and balanced with flowers and chamomile. Melon and citrus fruit with some pear. Saline and spicy almond finish. Very Good Plus to Excellent 21/bottle, case 18.99
Librandi Efeso Mantonico. Deep straw. Okay, the only dry white with a saffron aroma. Limestone minerality with citrus, peach, green herb, rosewater. Refined and balanced acidity. Excellent 26.99/bottle, case 22.99
2015 Librandi Duca San Felice Gaglioppo Riserva: Ruby red. Plums, cherries with hints of flowers, and spice. Notes of tobacco and leather with substantial, well-structured velvet tannins. Very Good to Excellent 19.99/bottle, case 16.99
2017 Feudo Montoni Perricone del Core: Ruby red. Fresh, fine, and elegant. Violet, plum, deep red fruit with spices cocoa licorice and carob. Round on the palate with polished tannins and a long spicy finish. Excellent 28.99/bottle, case 24.99
2015 Caravaglio Nero di Munti: Deep ruby. Smokey cherry, deep red fruit. Herbs and spices with pomegranate and fresh minerality in the finish. Tastes like a really good Sangiovese with a Salvador Dali mustache Excellent 27.99/bottle, case 23.99
(instore only) Special six-pack: one bottle of each of the above for a special price of $141
Assort any 6-11 bottles for 10% off
12 or more at the case price discount
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Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!
- Peter Hemenway
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in Greater Boston on orders more than $175