Text Size:-+
07.20.2005

2003 Morgante Nero d' Avola IGT Vendemmia, Sicily

morgante.gifThe more Nero d'Avola I have, the more I like it. This earthy old world varietal, native to the island of Sicily, seems to produce wines that are capable of calling one back to an earlier time and atmosphere, filtered with afternoon sunlight and redolent with the smells of fresh coffee, dirt from the fields, and someone's mother's cooking from down the cobblestone streets.

True connoisseurs of the varietal will tell you it's pretty hard to get wines that really do that, as they are made by small families in small quantities, even smaller bits of which seem to make it to the United States. However, there are a number of larger family producers that, while not meeting the criteria of miniscule production levels required by collectors, manage to produce wines that are enjoyable, even excellent, and are certainly evocative of the same feelings.

The Morgante family owns 500 acres of vineyards and almond groves that sweep along a series of hills about 45 miles from the famous valley of Agrigento, the site of Sicily's major World Heritage archaeological sites. Sitting between 1,150 and 1,800 feet above sea level, these vineyards are almost exclusively planted with native varietals which bask in the Mediterranean sun during the day, and are cooled by breezes at night.

The family has been growing Nero d'Avola for five generations, but it was only in 1994 that Antonio Morgante, encouraged by his sons, decided to make his own commercial wines. In 1997 they were joined by winemaker Riccardo Cotarella, who has helped craft the family's wines morgante.vineyards.jpg to their current level of acclaim and popularity. Every aspect of the winemaking process continues to be overseen by family members.

Morgante produces two wines, this standard Nero d' Avola and a reserve wine, named Don Antonio, which sees more aging.

Made from 100% Nero d'Avola, this wine undergoes primary fermentation in steel tanks, with no secondary fermentation, and is aged in 100% French oak before being fined with egg whites and filtered before bottling. It ages for three to four more months in the bottle before release. 15,000 cases made. The 2003 is the fifth vintage of this wine, which has been winning awards internationally since its first vintage.

Tasting Notes:
Medium ruby in the glass, this wine has a delicious nose of stewed prunes, cherries, leather and vanilla. In the mouth it is reasonably well balanced with flavors of leather black tea, cherries, and damp earth. Very light, almost imperceptible tannins carry the wine to a medium finish that has hints of pine sap.

Food Pairing:
Try pairing this wine with a simple baked polenta with Sicilian peperonata sauce and olives.

Overall Score: 8.5/9

How Much?: $12

This wine is readily available for purchase on the Internet.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Cold Snap Cincinnati Here I Come! Happy Thanksgiving from Vinography Vinography Unboxed: Week of November 23, 2014 Putting a Cork in Your Thanksgiving Wine Anxiety Plumbing the Depths of Portugal: A Tasting Journey Vinography Images: Rain at Last The Mysterious Art of Selling Direct Critical Consolidation in Wine What Has California Got Against Wineries?

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.