Mon 20 Jun 2011
While many wines made from Sicily’s nero d’avola grape are tarry, rustic and bumptious, Tonino Guzzo, winemaker for d’Alessandro, manages to produce an example that’s deep and dark without being tarry, robust without being rustic and lively without being bumptious. Yet the d’Alessandro Nero d’Avola 2008, Sicilia, still embodies the wild, slightly exotic nature of the grape. The property, near the town of Agrigento — a seaport founded by the Greeks around 580 B.C. on the island’s central southwest-facing coast — goes back to 1820, though Giacomo d’Alessandro did not found the winery until 2006. The wine is made 100 percent from nero d’avola grapes; it ages three months in cement tanks, meaning that there’s no oak influence. At two and a half years old, d’Alessandro Nero d’Avola 2008, sporting a black-purple color, is clean and fresh and appealing, with notes of black currant, blueberry and mulberry permeated by lavender, dried thyme and black olive and high-tones of cloves and sandalwood. This is pretty stylish stuff, sleek and smooth, but offering plenty of the grape’s dense, chewy, mouth-filling tannins, vibrant acidity and tasty plum and blueberry flavors imbued with potpourri, black tea and bitter chocolate. The finish is a tad austere with briers and brambles and a bit of slightly mossy dried porcini mushrooms, the best part of being somewhat earthy/funky. 13 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2012 or ’13 with burgers, steaks and red meat pastas. Very Good+. About $14 or $15.
Vinifera Imports, Ronkonkoma, N.Y. A sample for review. Image, slightly cropped, from amazinggrapeswinestore.com.