Cusumano's Nero d'Avola is grown near the heart of the island of Sicily. It is on the easy drinking side of the spectrum of Nero d'Avola production as a fruit driven offering with light spice and creaminess on the finish. Its unmistakable personality is a combination of black cherry and strawberry preserves and juniper berries on the nose. Enjoy now or age for another 5-7 years. Try with lamb chops or rare meats.
Cusumano's wines come from premium sites all over Sicily, and are produced at the Partinico (straight west of Palermo) based family winery by third generation winemakers and brothers Diego and Alberto Cusumano. They craft wines of the 'new' Sicily typified by outstanding varietal expression, rich flavors, and a sensuality that could only be born under the Sicilian sun. Wine insiders have long predicted that Sicily would one day become Europe's dominant wine region. The sheer number of prime vineyard sites available, the diversity of microclimates and soils throughout the island, make it possible for Sicilian winemakers to work not only with exciting native varietals, but also with many international grapes. Cusumano is the pre-eminent producer turning that prediction into reality.
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Sicily makes a lot of wine. From Marsala, the sweet, fortified wine of the region, to up-and-coming Nero d'Avola, this hot and hilly region is diverse. Sicily was at one time more quantity focused than quality, and while it's still producing a great deal of wine, the quality coming out is much better. With poor soil (great for grapes), warm sunshine, little rainfall and good mountain terrains, this little island is perfect for making the good stuff.
There are still delicious sweet wines coming from Sicily, including Marsala, Moscato di Pantelleria & Malvasia delle Lipari. But the reds are the wines making people stand up and notice. Nero d'Avola is demonstrating its potential for making deep reds with the ability to age. Some winemakers are taking a chance with international varieties, like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These grapes are sometimes blended with the Nero d'Avola or other native Italian varietals – adding a bit of international sophistication to regional charm.
A little ditty about Italy...
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.