Monthly Archives: February 2012

Gina Nero D’Avola

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2010
Sicily, Italy

The light cherry bouquet wafting up from my glass was an auspicious start to this Sicilian charmer, which didn’t let me down when it hit my tongue. Tart and sassy she is, making the most of a simple boysenberry and oak core with a gentle but lingering finish. Sometimes, all you want is a glass of decent wine after a long day–this one fits the bill nicely.

%15 at BevMo…but just $10 for ClubBev members–a much better price match.

Tormaresca NePriCa

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2009
Puglia, Italy

The funny name for this wine comes from a blend of three grapes–Negroamaro (40%), Primitivo (30%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%). Negroamaro (“bitter black”) is a varietal unfamiliar to me until now–grown primarily in Puglia, Italy’s heel, and characterized by a particular bitterness. I definitely got that in the finish; not overpowering, but very distinctive. The Cab no doubt balances that out.

Dry and dusty in the nose, NePriCa is a beautiful, velvety scarlet with substantial legs. There’s definitely a lot of licorice up front (hello, Primitivo), a peppery center and a redolent perfume of cherries, cassis, and flowers. Very earthy and mineral-y. Then there’s that bitter finish, with just a tinge of sweetness at the very end. It’s interesting to taste a blend where each grape’s personality stands out so clearly, like instruments in a symphony. Drinks far beyond its very reasonable $10 price.

Gina Chianti DOCG

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2009
Prato, Italy

So this is the only chianti I picked from BevMo!’s 33% off sale (shocking, I know). I just love a good, honest chianti. Not afraid to be a little acidic, or tannic, or a little punchy in the finish. Maybe it doesn’t have the finesse of a pinot or the bold structure of a cabernet, but chianti doesn’t care: it’s humble, it’s flavorful, it’s salt of the earth — and proud of it.

Gina’s delicious example is easy on the acidity, so maybe it’s not exactly what I think of when I hear the word “chianti,” but it’s somehow still true to its roots. Super inky, but not super thick. Juicy, ripe boysenberries and plums. Mmmm. Nice, long, leathery finish with that piquant tartness that tickles the back part of your tongue. It is literally mouthwatering. And there’s that shadow of moldy soil that echoes aftterwards, too…what a curious and tantalizing place for my tastebuds to go. It’s a journey in every glass.

Currently available at BevMo! for $17; it was a lot cheaper before February 6, 2012 — and I wish I had stocked up.

 

Fratelli Nero D’Avola

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2009
Sicily, Italy

From the Tuscan hillside to the tip of Sicily, my journey through BevMo’s Italian varietals continues. And what this modestly priced offering lacks in elegance it makes up for in liveliness.

Nero d’Avola (“Avola Black”) is indigenous to Sicily, named for the Avola region in the far south from which it hails. The varietal has traditionally been used in blends to add color (it’s a beautiful, dark, purply red) and body, but it’s starting to come into its own. Fratelli’s definitely displays the peppery/spicy notes for which the grape is known, but those are anchored by rich, plummy tannins and an oaky finish: a nicely structured combo of fruit, spice and earth. It’s fun to drink: a perfect party wine, or switch it out for beer the next time you’re ordering pizza.

I didn’t love it at first sip, I’ll admit, and it was dry as a bone to my palate. A few hours of breathing, however, really let the sweetness come through and brought the fruit front and center. At $10 on sale it’s a good value, especially for everyday drinking. But at the regular retail price of $15? Eh, you could do better.

Part of BevMo!’s 33% off sale–get it while the $10 price tag lasts!