Feudo Maccari Saia 2008
Nero d'Avola from Sicily, Italy
"Saia" is an ancient Arab word referring to small canals or viaducts built to hold water for use during the summer months. A restricted yield from Nero d'Avola vines averaging 20 years of age is hand harvested and fermentation is initiated in stainless steel tanks and lined vats, with a maceration on the skins of 15 days and regular punching down of the cap. A full malolactic fermentation is followed by 15 months in French oak barriques, of which half are new and half are of one year's use. Four months in bottle precede release.
Saia is opaque deep violet in color with aromas of dark and bitter red cherry, spearmint, spice and oak nuances. These lead into a velvety palate of lush, exotically concentrated fruit balanced by a fine acidic underpinning and ripe, sweet tannins. The long, penetrating finish ends on notes of wood, spice and pepper.
The Wine Advocate - "Incense, licorice and a host of other dark aromas and flavors emerge as the 2008 Saia (Nero d'Avola) opens up in the glass. The 2008 is more complex and nuanced than the 2009, but also firmer in style. Mint, tobacco and anise are some of the notes that develop over time. This striking, beautifully delineated red should continue to provide compelling drinking for a number of years. It is yet another example of a great Italian wine that over delivers for the money."
Wine Spectator - "A spicy red, featuring crushed black cherry, blackberry and plum notes that carry hints of melted licorice, vanilla bean, incense and earth through to the slightly grippy finish. Drink now through 2014."
Feudo Maccari Winery
The Feudo Maccari lies just over a mile from the sea, and basks in a dry, sun drenched climate verging on torrid in the summer months. Mediterranean winds moderate the climate and aerate the clusters, and some irrigation is required during the hot, dry season. The vineyards lie 240 feet above sea level on southerly exposed slopes, and the predominant volcanic soil profile is mixed in a few areas with white sand and chalk deposits. The Nero d’Avola vines are trained on trees in the traditional Sicilian manner, with the other varieties to more conventional systems. The first vintage of Saia, composed entirely of Nero d’Avola, is in the 2002 vintage; experimentation continues with other varieties.
The diversity of the estates’ soil and climatic conditions dictates that cultivation and winemaking follow the demands of the environment and pursuit of quality. Yields are restricted, and at harvest the clusters are handpicked, sorted, destemmed, and put into a conveyer-belt apparatus which breaks the skins rather than crushes the berries. Fermentation takes place in a combination of temperature controlled stainless steel and lined open-top fermentors with maceration periods appropriate to the varietal in question followed by natural malolactic fermentation in tank. Cooperage consists primarily of 225-liter barriques with some capacity in 500-litre tonneaux, and is of new and one year’s use; length of oak contact depends on both the wine and vintage, but generally lasts for a period of twelve to eighteen months. A first blending of lots takes place when the wine is placed in barrique; a second at the first racking. The wines are then bottled with minimum intervention. View all Feudo Maccari Wines
About Sicily(SIH-sih-lee) 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.
Notable FactsThere 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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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