Wine has been produced in Italy’s Sicily region for millennia. Legend has it that Dionysus (also known as Bacchus) brought pleasure to mankind and wine to Sicily. Nonetheless, Sicilian wines have never been among Italy’s most sought-after or respected. For much of the last century, grapes grown in Sicily were exported and added to wines made in other parts of Italy. But, that is changing.
Rosé A new generation of winemakers has, in the past couple decades, introduced changes in techniques and philosophies about how Sicilian wines should be made, and some of Italy’s best wines are now coming from Sicily. One such producer is Cusumano. I recently had the pleasure of sampling some Cusumano wines and was very, very impressed.
Sauvignon Blanc The winery is owned and operated by the brothers Cusumano, Alberto and Diego, who work closely with expert winemaker Mario Ronco. All of the grapes for Cusumano wines are hand-harvested and estate-grown. They are artisanal wines that somewhat hearken to the past in terms of vineyard techniques such as hand-harvesting, yet are modern and innovative on the palate. These wines of the “new” Sicily are adventurous and dynamic, meticulously made from vineyards spread across seven holdings throughout the region.
Mark Squires of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocates chose the Sagaponack vineyard’s 2013 Fatalis Fatum as one of the East Coast’s best wines and the winery’s 2013 Caya Cabernet Franc as a 2016 best value. The list included selections from the East Coast, Portugal, Greece and Israel/Lebanon.
Cabernet Shiraz Squires had rated both wines 93 out 100 points earlier this year. He also rated Wölffer Estate’s 2013 Christian’s Cuvée Merlot a 94 “Plus.” And in October, a Wölffer Estate Vineyard wine received a rating of 94 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
Rosé “2016 has become a banner year for Wölffer Estate receiving some of the highest accolades that a winery can only dream of,” said winemaker and partner Roman Roth. “This is just absolutely amazing — out of the hundreds of thousands of wines and wineries in the world, we are receiving such wonderful recognition and praise.” The 2013 vintage is considered to be one of Long Island’s greats, Squires noted. He gave high praise to the Fatalis Fatum, a blend of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and a touch of petit verdot, in a review in June.
By Jesse Wood Grandfather Vineyard and Winery slapped its first Appalachian High Country AVA label on a bottle of Seyval Blanc wine yesterday.
Shipping Wine To India A local achievement about 15 years in the making, the Appalachian High Country American Viticultural Area is a federal designation that legitimizes a wine grape-growing region.
Cabernet Shiraz The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau officially placed the Appalachian High Country AVA in the Federal Register at the end of October and the establishment of the AVA went into effect a few weeks ago – at which time local wineries were allowed to submit AVA labels for federal approval.
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Napa Valley winemaker Cathy Corison has long been the flag-bearer for wines of balance in the Napa Valley, continuing to make wines with reasonable alcohol and concentration, balanced by vibrant acidity, even as the accolades and scores went to much bigger wines.
Wines To India With the pendulum of popularity swinging back towards her signature style, Cathy represents a powerful stalwart in the industry. In a recent Napa Valley Vintner and St. Helena Star panel tasting of Napa cabs over $75 (results to be published Dec. 22), Cathy’s flagship wine, the Kronos cab, was the only wine with ample, but under 14 percent alcohol. That does not mean the wine lacks in body and richness; it provides this along with deep black-fruited goodness.
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