December 2018 Selection

Nerelli & Co .: light Southern Italian reds

December 2018 Selection

Terre Nobili Alarico 2017 (2 bottles)
Tenuta di Castellaro L'Ottava Isola 2015 (2 bottles)
Donnafugata Frappato di Vittoria Bell'Assai 2017 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £79.50
Club Discount Price: £69.74
You save: £9.76 (12.27%)

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About this selection...

The cliché of southern Italian wines as fat and velvety , with a robust structure and a mostly soft body, is a distant memory. Or at least it should be for the true wine lover. Even features of the most robust and once rustic vines, such as Aglianico and Montepulciano, are now being appreciated widely through their refined and elegant interpretations, which define the territory without being muscular.

But the last few years have marked the ascent of new vines and territories, where the gentle refinement of red wines is not an oenological choice, but a gift of nature. Sicily and Calabria are the cradle of these new wines, because it is in these regions of the extreme South of Italy that families of grapes are concentrated which satisfy a more blunt and modern flavour of red wine: clear and definite hints, of course, but also drinkability.

Broad and multifaceted, the Nerelli family is the most representative in this sense. Blessed in Sicily by the incomparable terroir of the Etna, it has a wonderful counterpart even more in the North, in the Messina area, and in the Aeolian Islands. These territories are predominantly volcanic and high ground, and combine the natural fruitiness of Nerello, Mascalese and Cappuccio with the solid texture of minerality and freshness, along with incredible verticality and longevity.

In Calabria too Nerello is wonderfully represented, as evidenced by the beautiful Alaric, but this is Gaglioppo land, a red vine so elegant to magically produce magnificent rosés. A close relative of Gaglioppo is Frappato, a native Sicilian typical of the Vittoria area. Another red to discover, even if it has already obtained very high accolades. Recently produced with single-variety, the bouquet is immediately winey, floral and fruity, but on the palate is of a wonderful mineral progression.

Light reds, but incredibly deep!

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Terre Nobili Alarico 2017 (2 bottles)

Red. Terre Nobili Calabria, Italy Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese

Bottle: £9.36 club members / £10.77 non-members

A typical grape variety of the Etna area and other Sicilian areas, Nerello is finding its own personality in Calabria too. Alaric is the most successful example, thanks to the particular position and exposure of the vineyard dedicated to Montalto Uffugo, in the Cosenza area, inland of Paola, on the hills that go towards the Tyrrhenian.

The business mission of Tenuta Terre Nobili, i.e. that of enhancing the native heritage of the vines, has therefore evolved into the identification of new grapes particularly suited to produce optimal results in Calabria. At the same time, the organic management of the vineyard has consolidated the link between quality and territoriality that has always distinguished the company philosophy.

Alarico respects these principles and makes use of a rigorous selection of the bunches, which contributes to a significant reduction in yields in favour of the quality of the product. In addition, vinification leads Alaric towards a particular concentration of perfumes and structure, with 20% of the mass deriving from blending and, moreover, with a long and careful maceration.

These strategies help to intensify the organoleptic feature of Nerello, which becomes more complex and structured without sacrificing its original characteristics of finesse and joviality. With its deep ruby ​​colour with a purple rim, Alaric has a complex, intense, persistent, fine and broad bouquet, with hints of small red berries and light puffs of iris, quince and eucalyptus. The taste is enveloping and spicy with firm but graceful tannins.

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

Terre Nobili Alarico 2017
Front and back

Tenuta di Castellaro L'Ottava Isola 2015 (2 bottles)

Red. Tenuta di Castellaro Etna, Italy Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio

Bottle: £13.89 club members / £15.79 non-members

Tenuta di Castellaro is one of the most influential and successful wineries in the Aeolian area. Based in Lipari, it began to impress wine lovers with great wines which are typical of the archipelago, both modern and purely volcanic, produced using vigorous biological management techniques. The Tenuta, moreover, belongs to the I Vigneri di Salvo Foti circuit, an extreme and heroic viticulture. The winery, unquestionably the most futuristic of the Lipari and Salina ones, has also recently been deployed on the slopes of Etna, a terroir which in many ways is comparable to the original one.

So these are modern and sustainable wines, whose common denominator is the volcanic root, without any mechanisation and with a careful selection of the best of the native varieties. By virtue of this production philosophy, Etna thus becomes the "Eighth Volcanic Island" of the Aeolian Islands, a perfect but also extreme summary of the archipelago, a warm territory of lava and cold snow.

Intense and bursting ruby ​​red, the bouquet of the Eighth Island offers sensations of red fruit, undergrowth, dried flowers, with nuances of tobacco and liquorice. On the palate, this wonderful and typical blend of Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio is a great balance between the important volcanic structure and the elegance of the varieties and vinification. It has a pleasantly tannic and very persistent taste, from the Etna strong and bursting at the seams but with a magical subtext of elegance and minerality.

Pasta with bolognese sauce / cured cheeses

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

Tenuta di Castellaro L'Ottava Isola 2015
Front and back

Donnafugata Frappato di Vittoria Bell'Assai 2017 (2 bottles)

Red. Donnafugata Vittoria, Italy Frappato

Bottle: £11.62 club members / £13.20 non-members

Donnafugata is certainly not a winery that needs introductions, but its arrival in the Vittoria area is one of the most interesting developments in the Sicilian wine scene. Here, Donnafugata already has over 36 hectares of vineyards in the classic area of ​​the district, on which the name of Cerasuolo di Vittoria also stands. The soils are varied, with tufaceous and calcareous additions, which guarantees the typical minerality of the reds of the area, together with the salinity given by the sea. The elegance and the verticality of these reds, as well as these environments, is also guaranteed by the natural finesse of the native vine: the Frappato.

Donnafugata has not missed the boat with the original Frappato varietal vinification, with a light and not very tannic DNA, but which is extremely fine and pleasant. What was born out of this is Bell'Assai, a particularly fragrant and young interpretation of the vine, almost a natural quintessence of its own. To present the wine there is another, new, signature label, which this time represents "a girl who offers the sweet Sicilian breeze the fruits of the vineyard and the scents of the countryside".

Of a brilliant ruby ​​red colour with violet reflections, typical of Frappato's youthfulness, Bell'Assai on the nose expresses pleasant but intense violet and rose floral notes, as well as fruity hints of raspberry and strawberry. Fresh and fragrant, with a fine minerality, it has a very elegant structure and a soft tannin that is anything but invasive, which enhances the joyful pleasantness of drinking.

Cooked pork products

  • Alcohol content: 12,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

Donnafugata Frappato di Vittoria Bell'Assai 2017
Front and back

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