Portelli Calabrese 2017 Front Label
Portelli Calabrese 2017 Front LabelPortelli Calabrese 2017  Front Bottle Shot

Portelli Calabrese 2017

    750ML / 0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    Calabrese is the local name for Nero d’Avola in the Vittoria region of southern Sicily, but the vine does not originate from Calabria, and its clusters do not look like spicy sausages (a hypothesis I drew up while hungry). The name is, in fact, an Italianization of the old Sicilian calea (grape) and aulìsi (from Avola). Calabrese has made a second home for itself in the arid hills around Vittoria, displaying more graceful traits relative to the dense, tannic wines it produces closer to Avola. Portelli’s version features ravishing flavors of black cherry leading to supple, gentle tannins. Try it with Calabrese sausage for a deliciously redundant pairing.

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    Portelli, Italy
    In the southeastern corner of Sicily, west of Modica and Ragusa, the town of Vittoria is the home of Sicily’s sole DOCG (Italy’s strictest form of wine certification), known as Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Cerasuolo is an enlightened blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola, and the two grapes when blended create a harmonious symphony of flavor and texture. Well-made Cerasuolo has a medium-bodied, sensual, seductive personality, and the Portelli family has mastered this fine example of southern Sicilian charm.

    Alessandro is the fifth generation of the Portelli family to tend their land, and currently works with his father Salvatore. The estate was founded in 1863 by Basilio Portelli who was succeeded by his son, grandson, great-grandson, and great-great grandson to arrive at present day. The family grew their own grapes, vinified their own wine, and sold it in bottle, long before most others in the area. Their original winery was in use from 1863 to 1959, and their initial export markets were England, Malta, and Germany. The Portellis were among the first growers in the Vittoria area and welcomed many others over the years.

    The Portellis have mastered the maceration and extraction to get the most out of their grapes—their wines are loaded with charm and luscious fruit while possessing plenty of structure on the backend. They grow two varieties: Frappato and Nero d’Avola, the latter known locally as Calabrese. Calabrese shows much more elegance here in the soils of Vittoria than it does in other areas of Sicily, where it tends to earn its keep as a wine of brawn and power. The Portellis are crafting Calabrese with elegance and refinement, country charm wrapped in suede. Their Frappato, while the most fruit forward wine they make, is no simple quaffer!

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    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.

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    KMT16FPO01_2017 Item# 533000

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