Ruby red with hints of purple, this wine has an explosion of fresh fruit on the nose (red currant, mulberry, raspberry, cherry and prune), balanced by a zesty spiciness. On the palate, vibrant fruit flavors from the Nero d'Avola are nicely balanced by ripe, soft tannins and a refreshing acidity.
The Planeta family had been cultivating vines in the region of Manfi and Sambuca di Sicilia, not far from Agrigento, for more than 300 years. The company is managed today by the new generation under the direction of Diego Planeta, President since 1972, of the local cooperative and an influential figure in the increase of awareness of quality wines in this region. Other family members occupy full-time roles in the company. Alessio, with the help of Marcello, is in charge of vineyard management, Francesca looks after sales and marketing. Chiara deals with public relations and Giovanni handles administration - truly a family-fun operation. The two properties which make up the estate, Ulmo and Dispensa, both have north-west facing vineyards located at about 250 meters above sea level. Vines are trained on vertical trellises using double Guyot systems. Ulmo, which began production in 1985, has 45 hectares of vineyard, production from the 37 hectares at the Dispensa estate began with the 1997 vintage.
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Kind of central, kind of southern, this region is best known for it's wine, Montapulciano d'Abruzzi – this wine is made from the Montelpulciano grape, unlike Vino Nobile di Montelpulciano, made with a Sangiovese clone in the region of Montelpuliciano. The Montelpulciano grape is happiest here in Abruzzi and the wine is rustic, yet soft and often fruity. The best part is that it's also good value and super food-friendly.
Sometimes called Apuglia outside of Italy, the area is known for making wine from the Zinfandel-related Primitivo variety. It sits on the Adriatic coast, facing Greece, and enjoys a Mediterranean climate. A productive wine region, Puglia makes a lot of wine, some of it not so high quality. Luckily, the good wine is exported and is of excellent value.
Perhaps better known for the city of Naples than the wine produced, Campania does have a couple of wines worth recognition. First, the white known as Greco di Tufo – an indigenous variety, Greco produces white wine that is dry, with a subtle nutty flavor. The best-known red here is Taurasi, made from the Aglianico grape, producing a wine of distinct color and flavor, with aromas of tar and leather.
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.
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 & 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.