Morgante Nero d'Avola 2008
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The Morgante winery represents one family’s initiative to employ five generations of viticultural experience. In 1994, Antonio Morgante, with the enthusiasm of his sons, Carmelo and Giovanni, decided to vinify their vineyard grapes. This decision represented the beginning of a strong commitment to achieve the best results with indigenous grapes while keeping an eye toward innovation. In 1997, the family hired Riccardo Cotarella as their winemaker. Cotarella, widely recognized for his work crafting compelling wines from Italy’s native varietals, shares the Morgante passion for producing great red wines from Nero d’Avola. The Morgante winery is located in the pristine countryside of southern Sicily, a hilly region located about 1200-1800 feet above sea level and just 45 miles from the splendid Valley of the Temples of Agrigento. The property comprises 500 acres of vineyards and almond trees, and the region is ideal for viticulture, with a Mediterranean climate and soil that ranges from clay and calcareous to marl. In Sicily, Nero d’Avola is the undisputed red grape for wines of excellence, and it is this vine that the Morgante family has always cultivated. All aspects of production — from vineyard to cellar — are rigorously controlled by every member of the family, all of whom are dedicated to making wines of the highest possible quality.
In 1997, the family hired Riccardo Cotarella as their winemaker. Cotarella, widely recognized for his work crafting compelling wines from Italy's native varietals, shares the Morgante passion for producing great red wines from Nero d'Avola. In Sicily, Nero d'Avola is indisputably the red grape for wines of excellence. And it is the vine that the Morgante family has always cultivated. All aspects of production from vineyard to cellar are rigorously controlled by every member of the family, each one dedicated to making wines of the highest possible quality.
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 this 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 Sicilian 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 varieties 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 Sicilian wines of the island.
Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry Sicilian white. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.
Boldly opulent and robust, Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most widely planted red grape. Nero d’Avola performs well both as a single varietal bottling and in blends. It loves hot, arid climates and Sicily's old vines are aptly head-trained close to the ground, making them resistant to strong winds. A few pioneering producers in California as well as Australia farm Nero d’Avola in the same way. Somm Secret—Nero d’Avola's other name, Calabrese, suggests origins from the mainland region of Calabria.