Sicily has been making wine for ages and ages, but it's getting a lot more attention these days as newer winemakers compete to get their wines a broader audience around the world and change their production methods to achieve higher quality.
Firriato is a fairly new producer on the island. It was started in 1985 by Salvatore and Vinzia Di Gaetano in northwestern Sicily near Trapani. Things move slower in Sicily, I guess, as their first real production ended up being in 1994. Since their initial vintage, they have scaled their production levels to nearly 500,000 cases. That's a lot of wine from a single producer on a small island.
The Di Gaetanos have dedicated themselves to producing wines from Sicily's native grapes, and which embody their sense of Sicily's spirit and history. Their plantings are dominated by Nero d'Avola, Perricone, Grillo, Catarratto.
This particular wine is made of Nero D'Avola, which is also known as Calabrese, hinting at the fact that it may have originated not in Sicily (where it has been for ages) but actually in Calabria on the mainland, an historical source of much of Sicily's ancient trade.
The Chiaramonte is 100% Nero D' Avola, which is fermented and aged in French oak for 6 months before release. 20,000 cases made.
This wine is deep ruby in color and its nose holds aromas of smoke, prunes and figs. Once in your mouth it displays flavors of cherries, woodsmoke, and green peppercorns, flavors that are buoyed up with a modicum of acidity and enveloped by light tannins. The finish is average.
This is a great wine for earthier foods, with the dried fruit flavors complementing darker, muskier flavors like those you might get from this three mushroom tart.
Overall Score: 8
How Much?: $12
Looks like you can find this at the Wine Exchange.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Danilo Nada of Nada Fiorenzo Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/23 Vinography Images: Night Sorting Small is Beautiful: The Champagnes of Savart I'll Drink to That: Karl duHoffmann of Anchor Brewing Warm Up: Jerez de la Frontera I'll Drink to That: Antonio Flores of González Byass California 2015 - Vintage of Fire Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/16 A Selection of Georgian Wines
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune