I am feeling rather proud of myself. Here it is the middle of May and I am pretty astonished that at least one of my New Year’s Resolutions is still going strong. A brief recap of said Resolutions:
- Drink more Merlot: I technically think this one is still alive, but that is mostly due to the last trip to Dry Creek Valley where I got to drink a couple stellar wines still in barrel. Here in the wine-hating Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Not so much (although we have had a couple Bordeaux…I think that counts.).
- Get Posts done a day (or more) ahead of time: Um. No.
- Do more interviews: I officially have done exactly one interview, but I have not dedicated the time it will require to get it onto the blog. This week I will get back at it. Swear.
- Drink less on New Year’s Eve: Still alive since there has not been another NYE since January, but there is no doubt in my mind that I will fail at this one when December 31st rolls around again.
- Drink more Italian wine: Here is what I wrote at the time…
“at the end of 2014 I was drinking a bit more (including three really good Franciacortas) and I plan to delve into more regions other than Tuscany and Piedmont.”
To quote Sebastian, my six-year old son, “Nailed It!”
While I still have a ways to go, there is no doubt that my Italian wine consumption is way, way up from at this point last year, and most of it has been from regions not named Tuscany or Piedmont. (We will ignore the fact that almost all the Italian wines I have consumed thus far–including those listed below–were sent as media samples. I choose to think that is irrelevant.)
With all of that in mind, here a few wines from Sicily (the island off the toe of the boot) and the Dolomites (the Northern mountain region):
2012 Stemmari Cantodoro IGT Sicilia: Retail $18. 80% Nero d’Avola, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky dark as you would expect from a Nero d’Avola with plum and cassis prominent. On the palate, certainly more old world with a nice balance between fruit and acid, with an anise note mixed in. A bit thin on the finish, but a quaffable wine, at a good price point. Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.
2012 Stemmari Dalila Sicilia: Retail $14. 80% Grillo, 20% Viognier. Although this is the first time that I have had any Grillo (to my recollection), the Viognier really seems to add quite a bit of aromatics, particularly white flowers and a bit of peach. On the palate, a bit of depth and minerality through the mid-palate with really nice acidity and a solid finish. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
Stemmari Baci Vivaci Sicilia: Retail $10. Mostly Grillo, but I could not find the breakdown (I imagine it changes from bottling to bottling). “Baci Vivaci” means “Lively Kisses” which, frankly, no one is ever going to turn down. Nor should you turn down this wine—it is not going to change your life (i.e., these “lively kisses” are not coming from a future spouse), but they sure are fun. Think Moscato without the cloying sweetness. At $10? I would buy the heck out of this and open it whenever. Great for apéritif, the patio, the beach, appetizers, whatever. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2014 Stemmari Rosé Sicilia: Retail $10. 100% Nero d’Avola. Perhaps a bit darker than your average rosé, Expressive nose of red berry fruit, melon, and rose hips. Nice dry rosé on the palate with subtle fruit and vibrant acidity. Surprisingly lingering finish. For ten bucks? I would buy a case and drink it over the course of the summer. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2007 Mezzacorona Teroldego Rotaliano NOS Riserva: Retail $30 (Teroldego is both the DOC and the grape variety used within). Rather dark in the glass with a mocha/cassis nose. On the palate, certainly old world with prominent acidity and reserved fruit. More expressive on the second day, which suggests that there is still plenty of life left here. A bit thin on the mid-palate, but I nitpick. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2014 Mezzacorona Rosé Dolomiti: Retail $10 (100% Lagrein). I do not have a ton of experience with Lagrein, but what I have had, I really enjoyed, so I was really looking forward to this rosé. It did not disappoint. Pale salmon color with a lemony nose and a hint of strawberry, this did not show much fruit initially. On the palate, a decided grapefruit component with some tart red berry fruit. This is not the fruitiest rosé on the planet, but non-fruity rosés need loving too, and if you caress this just a bit, you will be rewarded. Very Good. 86-88 Points.