A Sicilian Nero d'Avola

Nero as in black...

Cusumano Nero d'Avola

Cusumano Nero d'Avola

Sicily is a high-volume Italian wine producer and Nero díAvola is the major Sicilian red grape. So how is it that I havenít reviewed a wine made from such a grape? Anyway, better late than never. Cusumano has 400 hectares (1000 acres) of vines in the Cattanisetta province of western Sicily. Their website is quite attractive but may take a lot of time to navigate. The Robert Parker website gave the 2006 vintage of this wine 89 points and Wine Spectator gave the 2009 vintage 86 points, but to my knowledge the 2010 vintage has yet to win such accolades. This wine carries the Sicilia IGT appellation, according to one of my favorite wine experts, Tom Stevenson, the best IGT appellation on the island of Sicily. The companion wine is a somewhat more expensive Sicilian Nero díAvola.

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Wine Reviewed
Cusumano Nero díAvola, 2010 13.5 % alcohol about $10.

Letís start by quoting the marketing materials. ďTasting Note: Deep ruby color, dark fruit with coffee and spice aromas; dry, medium body; cherry and plum flavors with balanced acidity; ripe tannins in soft medium length finish. Serving Suggestion: Serve with grilled lamb chops.ď†And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was round and quite fruit forward. It displayed balanced acidity but it was thin. I started with Japanese rice crackers; in response the fruit stayed and there was a bit of chocolate. And a Wasabi pea increased its intensity. The initial meal was a boxed vegetarian lasagna with Ricotta and Mozzarella cheese that I doused with grated Parmesan cheese. This was a good rustic wine, but it was somewhat thin.

The following meal featured a barbecued chicken leg. I was first hit by the wineís sweetness. There was some oak, light tannins, and acidity, and fair length. When paired with the side dish of potatoes roasted in chicken fat, this Sicilian darkened and deepened. In the face of zesty guacamole the libationís acidity stepped up and I tasted black cherries. The fruit juice candy dessert muted the wine and only a bit of acidity remained.

My final meal centered on slow cooked shoulder steak. The liquid was rustic but thin. When paired with the accompanying potatoes cooked with the meat, the wine stepped up a bit and presented good acidity. The drink toughened when I doused the meat with a generous helping of Louisiana hot sauce. A Turkish salad consisting of tomato, tomato paste, onion, sweet red pepper, garlic, sugar, and other spices had no effect on this wine.

Final verdict. I donít think that I will bother with this wine again. It was too hit and miss. This producer makes a similarly priced Syrah that I might try but it wonít be at the top of my list.

Access the companion wine A Wine Lovers Near Weekly Review Of $15 Wines - Another Sicilian Nero d'Avola

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com    and    http://www.wineinyourdiet.com

Visit his website devoted to italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com

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