Sicilia en primeur 2019

A good slice of the Sicily of wine told to Italian and foreign journalists and communicators.

This is how I would define Sicilia en primeur, the Sicilian wine festival organized by Assovini Sicilia and now in its sixteenth edition. 

This year 50 wine cellars from all the island’s wine territories will be the protagonists, to tell their story and communicate the territory and the last Harvest.

Sicilia en primeur is certainly one of the result of Assovini Sicilia’s commitment, a grouping of about 90 Sicilian wineries, which since 1998 has been promoting Sicilian wine on and off the island with exceptional results.

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This year’s event, from 6 to 10 May, involved 100 journalists from the main Italian and foreign magazines, 8 wine influencers and 5 Master of Wine. Eight were the eno-tour guests attended, divided into groups to learn more about the different wine region of Sicily.

In the final two days, at the Ortea Palace in Syracuse, there were tastings with the AIS sommelier of the wines from the participating wineries, a technical seminar on the vintage, five thematic masterclasses led by the Masters of Wine and the walkaround-tasting, an opportunity to meet the producers, where the local press was also involved. And finally, the tasting open to the public took place on May 10th from 6:00 pm at the ex Convento del Ritiro in Ortigia.

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Day 10, I participated in the walkaround-tasting, and it was nice to breathe this slightly international atmosphere during the tastings. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time, but I well spent it dedicating it to wineries I didn’t know before.

Here are some of the most interesting tastings.

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A discovery was the Colosi winery, which has been cultivating vineyards on the Aeolian island of Salina for over 30 years. Pietro and Marianna, the third and young generation, carry on the family tradition together with their parents.The wines produced on the island are all characterized by freshness and sapidity that make the sip very pleasant and never boring.

In particular I appreciated: 

Secca del Capo 2018 IGP Salina – 100% Malvasia – We are used to knowing sweet Malvasia, this is the dry version and undoubtedly interesting! In fact, for a moment it seemed to find myself on the island and feel the sea breeze around me.

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Salina Rosato 2018 – IGP Salina 50% Corinto Nero 50% Nerello Mascalese, medium intense notes of cherries and strawberries, mediterranean scrub and orange peel. On the palate the taste and aroma correspondence is excellent, crisp and mineral.

Nurah – Malvasia delle Lipari 2015 DOC Naturale 95% Malvasia delle Lipari 5% Corinto Nero. Nurah from the Arabic “sweet but gracefully”, the name of this sweet wine fruit of the millenary traditions of the Aeolian islands. Pleasant notes of ripe stone fruits, sweet spices, coffee and eucalyptus. Full bodied, balanced and with a long finish.

We move to Etna with the wines of the Tuscan oenologist Paolo Caciorgna, who, like all of us, fell in love with Etna and since 2005 has produced three interpretations of Nerello Mascalese on the northern slopes of Etna from pre-phylloxera vineyards.On this occasion I tasted Guardailvento 2016 Etna Rosso DOC, Nerello Mascalese 100%, characterized by a marked smoky and red fruits note, thick and smooth tannins, medium (+) finish.

N * Anticchia (“a little bit” in Sicilian dialect) Etna Rosso DOC 2015, the result of a long aging in French barriques, shows intense notes of eucalyptus, cherries and a slight smoky note. In the mouth it’s full, intense and with high and soft tannins.

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Vinding Montecarrubo, a Danish winemaker who particularly intrigued me for his history of growing vineyards and producing wines around the world, and then choosing Syracuse as his home.
Here it produces two fascinating expressions of Syrah. Il Carrubo 2017 IGT Terre Siciliane, alluring nose of black fruit and balsamic notes; the same hints are found on the palate, silky tannins and a spicy finish of black pepper and coffee. Balanced and with a long finish.
Cuvée Suzanne 2017 IGT Terre Siciliane is a blend of a Sicilian Syrah and a Syrah from the Rhône Valley. Black fruit predominates here, especially ripe plum. The palate is pleasantly spicy with notes of licorice and black pepper, full and with soft tannins.

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We come back to Etna, precisely on the south-east side, in Contrada Blandano, Municipality of Viagrande, with Terre Costantino.
I already anticipate that this is a winery that I will visit soon to be able to tell you more in detail. Meanwhile, some tastings.
De Aetna Etna Rosato DOC 2018 – Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (10%) from organic farming. A medium-bodied rosé with excellent freshness and persistence, good taste-olfactory correspondence of small red fruits, banana and orange peel.

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Contrada Blandano Etna bianco DOC 2015 – Vineyards of Carricante (75%) and Catarratto (25%) between 50 and 100 years. Intense nose of sweet almond, apricot and flowers. I find the aromas on the palate, with a beautiful freshness and persistence. Savory and soft taste.
Contrada Blandano Etna Rosso DOC 2014 – notes of vegetable and ripe red fruits. On the palate it’s medium bodied with soft tannins. Balanced, very intense and with a medium spicy finish.
The cellar’s latest news’, Rosola 2018, is a very amusing blend of native red and white grapes from a single vineyard. Fresh and drinkable with notes of red fruits and sweet spices.

Great conclusion with the wines of Cantina Gulfi.
We are in Chiaramonte Gulfi in the Province of Ragusa, where the Nero d’Avola has a fascinating and unique expression compared to the rest of the Island.
On this occasion I tasted the four Nero d’Avola wines of the winery, produced in vineyards that, although close together, have different climatic and soil conditions, while the vinification and aging technique is the same. Therefore it was possible to appreciate its peculiarities and concentrate on the expression of the varietal. In a future post I will talk to you about both the winery and its wines. I anticipate that the Nero d’Avola outside the box, certainly in a positive way, was the neroSanlorè 2015 Sicilia IGT Rosso.

Ph. Benedetto Tarantino

Cheers to the next tasting!

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