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Feudi del Pisciotto Valentino Merlot 2011

Merlot from Sicily, Italy
    14% ABV
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    14% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    This wine has a big power, texture, and elegance. The color is deep red in the glass with enticing almost vegetal aromas mixed with notes of blackberry and spices.

    Enjoy with first courses and roasted red or white meats.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Feudi del Pisciotto

    Feudi del Pisciotto

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    Feudi del Pisciotto, Sicily, Italy
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    Feudi del Pisciotto consists of 82 acres of vineyards planted in 2002 that sit at 820 feet above sea level just under four miles as the crow flies from the sea. The property, therefore, benefits from two climatic moderators: the elevation, which allows the vineyards to enjoy the sea breeze, and the sea itself, a great mitigator of temperature.

    Located inside the triangle created by Piazza Almerina (known for its extraordinary and intact Roman villa), Caltagirone (famous for its ceramics) and Vittoria (famous for Cerasuolo di Vittoria, the only Sicilian DOCG), the vineyards of Feudi del Pisciotto dedicate half their vines to the red wine king of the island, Nero d’Avola, and half to international varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot, Semillon and Gewürztraminer. Inside the winery, Feudi del Pisciotto prides itself on combining history with high technology in the cellar in order to reach the highest levels of the Sicilian wine production.

    Part of the Pisciotto reserve, famous for its beauty, the abundance of cork oaks and the presence of many other species of vegetation, Feudi del Pisciotto also enjoys relicts of its long history, including an extraordinary millstone that was once used by the ancient Romans to make wine.

    A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.

    Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on the sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.

    Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieites or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected wines of the island.

    Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry whites. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.

    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

    HNYFDPVMT11C_2011 Item# 144552