Browse Tag


Salina content

Hauner 2004 “Carlo Hauner” Salina (Sicily) – Complex, with earth, dried honey, flowers, and leesy minerals blending into stone fruit. Long and intense. Wow! (2/07)


[bottle]Cusumano 2005 Nero d’Avola (Sicily) – A solid wall of dark, tannic fruit (the former dominating the latter) and then…well, nothing. Nothing at all. Just that immense, oppressive density, signifying nothing. Age might help, but I’m not hopeful. (2/08)

Nero fiddled

Occhipinti 2006 Siccagno Nero d’Avola (Sicily) – Fennel fronds, crumbled tar, pomegranate, and layers of soil. I’ve never tasted anything like this. But we’re not done, either; there’s espresso bean, licorice, and gorgeous black fruit as well. Fascinating. Every time I go back to the glass, there’s something else to discover. This may have the best acid balance of any wine I’ve ever tasted, which gives the wine a soda-like intensity of tactility that marries perfectly with the rich tapestry of aromatics. It practically buzzes with electricity. Beautiful. Just beautiful. (1/08)

Pinocchio & frappato

Occhipinti 2006 Il Frappato (Sicily) – Terrific soil aromatics, huge (but ripe) acidity, red strawberry-dominated fruit and red apple skins. Flowers, too. Long, building, and incredibly impressive. Great wine, and still in the first flush of its youth. (1/08)

You’re either Pithos or you’re Againstos

[bottle]COS 2005 Cerasuolo di Vittoria “Pithos” (Sicily) – A blend of frappato and nero d’avola, farmed in biodynamie, fermented in amphora, and bottled without sulfur. In other words, asking for trouble at every stage. Good thing the wine is majestic. It’s not easy to love, with a more tightly-wound presence than the regular Cerasuolo di Vittoria and a more upfront structure (particularly the acidity, which is vibrant), and in point of fact I’d rather drink the normale right now, though I suspect this will end up better in the long run. The fruit is very concentrated, but for all that surprisingly light and laser-like, with a narrow beam of red-shifted berries and crystals pulsing at the subatomic level. Then there’s a layer of grey earth, or perhaps it’s something more metallic…enveloping but not containing. This is a fascinating wine, deserving of much more attention that I was able to give it here, at a conversational dinner in a crowded restaurant. (12/07)

What’s passito is passito

Pellegrino 2004 Passito di Pantelleria (Sicily) – The usual muscat aromatics of perfume and flower are dominated by a keening pine sensation. The sweetness is puckered and light. Much, much better than the useless 2003. (8/07)

TN: COS by show

COS 2004 Cerasuolo di Vittoria (Sicily) – Warm, enveloping old spice-cabinet aromas, old cedar, sun-dried red cherry and strawberry. There’s fine acidity (especially for a Sicilian wine), an inviting Old World balance, and surprising persistence despite a fairly light approach (“light” is contextual). Beautiful stuff. (3/07)

TN: I’m glad I met ya’

Torrepalino 1995 Etna Rosso Solicchiata (Sicily) – Soft, ash-drenched red fruit. Mostly, but not entirely, dead, with spiky acidity poking through the well-worn holes. I find a certain decrepit charm, our group’s one avowed necrophiliac likes it, and most of the rest of the room pronounces it undrinkable. But the terroir does most definitely show. A few years ago, this might have been really interesting. But what the hell…it was only $2. (2/07)