The May wine tasting was a departure from our regular format, consisting of a cross-section of wines from the island of Sicily. Six different wines were tasted, from a simple, refreshing white to a rich red blend.
Gilles brought what was agreed upon as the best wine of the evening, an 80% Nero d'Avola and 20% Merlot blend. Its reported difficulty in acquisition was perhaps worth its high quality and overall value.
Below are the tasting notes, presented in the order that they were poured. No points were awarded.
Feudo Arancio Grillo 2005 (Sicilia). Meaning "cricket" in Italian, this bottle offered aromas of chamomile, honey, bubble gum, Vaseline, minerals, fresh herbs, and lemons. Bright and lively, with Clementine, Mountain Dew, and citrus peel flavors. Sharp, metallic aftertaste. Andy called it "casual", while Kristin said that "I want to have this with some cut up fruit". A good summer wine. Kristin's bottle. About $12/1.5L.
Settesoli Mandra Rossa Fiano 2004 (Sicilia). Straw-colored, and looking thicker than the Grillo. Tasters noted scents of gasoline, asphalt, grapefruit, wet pebbles, game, chalk, aftershave, stone fruits, and under-ripe cherries. Josephine found that "it doesn't give itself up easily". Coats the taster's tongue with white peach, green apple, and green pepper flavors. Andy craved alfredo sauce with this one. Josephine's bottle. About $11.
Russo Leyra Chardonnay 2004 (Sicilia). Golden yellow in color. On the nose, tasters found wood, red apples, feet, watermelon rinds, and a metallic quality. Round, with caramel and soap suds on the palate. Quick, woody finish. Gilles felt that it was "like licking the lid of a tin can". Andy's bottle. About $15.
Morgante Nero d'Avola 2005 (Sicilia). Smelling like wet dog, rubber ball, black fruits, plastic, and pencil eraser. Gilles thought it had "a small voice", while Jo felt that it was "wistfully floral", more accurately described as "heliotrope". Featuring brown sugar, cherries, and eucalyptus on the palate. Jo said, "I kind of like it, but feel guilty", and David felt it was "a food wine". Ali's bottle. About $12.
Passomaggio 2002 (Sicilia). A blend of 80% Nero d'Avola and 20% Merlot, this exhibited woodsy aromatics, along with pepper, mushrooms, rubber, licorice, and raw beef. Thicker than the other reds, and looking darker in color. Andy was reminded of "a big burly guy" that "has lassoing skills". Complex flavors of cheese, leather, blackberries, sage, and cola. Supportive tannins. About needing food with this one, Gilles said that "it starts the sentence, but won't finish it". Generally agreed to as the best wine of the tasting. Gilles' bottle. About $20.
Principi di Butera 2003 (Sicilia). Looked unfiltered, and offering scents of sour cream, shoe polish, toast, burnt sugar, cola, cedar, black tea, prunes, and red roses. Jo was reminded of "an old church pew", while Gilles thought of a "dresser drawer that hasn't been opened in a while". Tasting like grape soda, flowers, burnt matches, pepper, and violets. Kristin felt it was like "grape popsicle". Youthful, attenuated finish. About the jazz in the background, Gilles thought that "this music is perfect for this wine". David's bottle. About $12.