WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

25 July 2012

Italian reds: Sicily, Barbaresco, Amarone...

The first Sicilian red recommended here is made entirely from an obscure indigenous variety called Nerello Mascalese from vines grown in the Agrigento area in the southwest of the island. The second is another co-op winery red moulded from the better-known Nero d'Avola grape (I wouldn't have said that a few years ago but I've noticed more and more Nero d'Av wines around, which is nice) sourced from southern Sicily. Finally, the dearest one, also from the south and 100% Nero d'Avola, is a bit of a Mediterranean treat although still quite good value for the quality at £12; I'd much rather drink this than a 'cheap' Barolo at the same price.
Talking of which, or next door at least, Marks & Spencer sell a Barbaresco for £12 as well, which I found a tad austere though still pretty typical Nebbiolo in style I guess. The Barby I've included here - 100% Nebbiolo too as they all are - is more than twice the price unfortunately but is in a different class; shame that you have to pay so much to get something very good from the Piemonte region. And travelling east to the other side of the north, if you get my drift, we have a rather yummy Amarone from Valpolicella. It's fairly expensive as well, as they naturally tend to be, and not everybody's cup of red tea, being typically full-on and towards head-banging in style, so save it for a special and very hearty meal (wild boar stew perhaps?! Matured hard cheeses certainly).

2009 Nerello Mascalese Cantina del Coppiere, Sicily (13% alcohol) - 'sweet' floral fruit with wild lavender edges, tasty 'sweet/savoury' palate with ripe maturing fruit vs a touch of grip. Nice Med style. M&S £5.99
2009 Baglio Rosso Nero d'Avola Cantina Sociale Viticultori Associati, Sicily (13%) - similar profile to above, perhaps more intense and lusher with lovely sweet fruit and wild herb undertones, again attractive soft and easy mouth-feel vs structured too. Good stuff. M&S £7.99
2007 Nero d'Avola di Sicilia Casa Girelli (13%) - rich and seductive nose with savoury and almost tar-like notes, ripe dark fruit for sure; concentrated gamey and savoury palate with lush structured underbelly, very long finish. Delicious wine. M&S £11.99
2007 Barbaresco Cascina Morassino, Piedmont (14.5%) - has all that enticing firm and fresh character you'd expect from Nebbiolo vs much richer and darker than the 'cheaper' one, meaty powerful finish; classy wine. M&S £27
2008 Villalta Amarone della Valpolicella Speri, Veneto (mostly Corvina and Rondinella plus Molinara and others; 15%) - perfumed dried cherry notes with meaty 'tar' edges, powerful and firm mouth-feel vs nice and lush vs dry texture, big stylish finish. M&S £25

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