Region: Val di Noto, Terre Siciliana, Italy
Varietal: 75% Nero d’Avola, 5% Grillo, 5% Frappato, 5% Insolia, 5% Catarratto and 5% Perricone
Tasting Notes: Bursting with bright red fruits and herbal wafts, this tight tannin blend delivers a fresh, juicy acidity that finishes with a slightly saline, cranberry crunch. Described as “Svelte” bodied, and “lip-smacking.”
Pairing: This Nero d’Avola blend partners well with grilling burgers in the summer evenings! It is most enjoyable with hearty dishes like lasagna, pasta meatballs, or lamb tajine. My favorite dish for this bottle is a big ol’ platter of these Chinese Steamed Pork Buns by RecipeTinEats. The acidity and fruit of the Mortellito is delectable with the fatty pork filling and chewy dumpling dough. Do it!
About: Terre Siciliane is the region-wide IGT title for Sicily. This comprises the main island of Sicily and each of its satellite islands, including the Aeolian Islands. In keeping with the stylistic freedom of the IGT category, Terre Siciliane IGT wines can be made in virtually any style: red, white or rosé, still or sparkling, dry or sweet. The hot climate is reflected in the wines and they are famous for their inexpensive, full bodied, warm, and fruit forward red wines based on Primitivo and Nero d’Avola.
Val di Noto sits in the southeast corner of the Sicilian triangle, dipping down to the latitude of North Africa. In spite of the warm climate, the local varieties (especially Grillo and Frappato) and white limestone soils are capable of producing balanced wines with tension and moderate alcohol. Dario Serrentino, after years of selling off his grapes (to naturalistas Frank Cornelissen, Lamoresca, inter alia), started to vinify and bottle his own wines in 2014 as Mortellito. Dario is a naturalista as well, but he insists on making clean wines that taste extreme only in their deliciousness. He works his family’s 25 hectares, 15 of which are under vine; the rest are a mix of ancient olive groves and heirloom almond varieties. A plate of pasta al pesto rosso (sun-dried tomatoes, toasted almonds, olive oil, garlic, salt) with a glass of Dario’s rosso ‘Calaniuru’ (Frappato with a dash of Nero d’Avola), flatters several of the fruits of his farm. His wines have a tempered hedonism, a mix of ‘taking’ in the sun (as the Italian idiom goes), and then ‘taking a bath’ in the salty-cool sea.- Cellar Door Wine & Spirits
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