Sicilian wine adventures – Part 7; turning to the dark side


Six months ago.

“Listen, Nero d’Avola, we need to talk…”

“What? Why? What did I do?”

“Look, it’s not you, it’s me. I need to figure some things out….”

There’s one Sicilian indigenous grape I’ve never really understood. Not in the sense it sucks no, it’s probably just not my palate. Sure, I could be mean and say it doesn’t possess the structure of a grand grape, lacks acidity, is a bit dull, obviously suffers from the heat at picking time – or only is a Friday car copy of Syrah. But then I would be mocking and questioning quite a lot of Sicilian wine estates considering the popularity Nero d’Avola enjoys. I mean, it’s the most widely planted red wine-grape on the island.

Only one thing to do; start trying the premium Nero d’Avola’s that are today a quite common sight amongst the Sicilian wine producers. First out; Casa di Grazia’s 2007 Gradiva Collectio. 100 per cent Nero d’Avola from a south facing slope at Gela (southern Sicily).

100% Nero d'Avola

Tasting note

Yup, this is the dark side although not impenetrable. Oozing of plums, dark cherries, scorched earth, spices, licorice, flowers and balancing on the correct side of oxidized notes. Rustic in a charming way. The flowers are more evident some hours later.

On the palate it’s generous with plenty of sun-drenched dark sweet berries, smoke, humus, licorice and cinnamon. Not that high acidity but fine tannins hiding behind the sweet fruit. Still, it’s a dry wine. Good mouth-fill and length.

There’s hope; this wasn’t bad at all. While I am not convinced my wife is more excited. This is her kind of wine. Some interesting stuff on this one; 15 days of skin maceration; I thought that would be more evident in the wine but no. Even cooler; one year of aging in stainless steel. No oak. Think this is the way to discover the grape. Well done Casa di Grazia!

2007 Casa di Grazia, Gradiva Collectio, Gela, Sicily, 89-90 p

Wine-search it here. I bought it here.