2010 Masseria del Fauno Nero d’Avola
Mission Codename: The Reign of the Dark Duke
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red to Sicily, in search of a food-friendly Nero D’Avola. Secure a limited allocation for our faithful fans of our Internation Sunday Selections.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Masseria del Fauno
Wine Subject: 2010 Nero d’Avola
Winemaker: Sabino Russo
Backgrounder: Sometimes known as Calabrese, Nero D’Avola is an Italian grape variety that is indigenous to the region of Sicily, off the southern Italian coast. Regarded as the most important red wine grape in Sicily, Nero D’Avola is often used as a blending agent in other Italian wines. Known as “The Black Grape of AvolaInter nation”, this bright wine makes for an excellent companion to a hearty Italian meal.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark burgundy in color, with a darker heart of opaque dark purple. Swirl the wine, and it shows as a pretty purple color. When the wine settles, it leaves behind tall, skinny, wine-stained legs that move swiftly down the glass.
Smell – Earthy and dark, dusty earth, sweet baking spices, dark chocolate, anise, espresso bean and vanilla extract. As the wine breathes, it opens up to reveal lead by ripened plum, tomato stem, subtle blackberry, subtle blueberry compote and a hint of cassis.
Feel – Soft, cool and light-weight on entry, the a slight grip appears at the edge of the palate. This spreads an easy dryness that is backed by the bright acidity of the wine.
Taste – Bright underripe blackberry, dusty earth, dried fall leaves, minerals, leather and burnt raisin take the lead. As the wine opens up, subtle blueberry, subtle red plum, espresso bean, dark chocolate and soft baking spice appear.
Finish – Medium in length, with a bright acidity and earthy qualities that give the wine a dry and grippy overall finish.
Conclusion – Today’s Masseria del Fauno 2010 Nero d’Avola is a food that is made for Italian food! Many Italian wines are picked early, giving them a fantastic acidity – which makes them brilliant for food-pairing. A little shy at first, be sure to spend some time with this wine, spinning it in the glass. This coaxes it to life, bringing out the subtle qualities of the dark fruit. Earthy, sofly spice and mineral-rich, this bright wine would be absolutely perfect with a meaty Spaghetti Bolognese. Enjoy now, but be sure to cellar a few bottles as well. This youthful wine will only continue to improve.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Sabino Russo
WINE EDUCATION: Oenological School Umberto in Alba- Piemonte, followed by San Michele all’Adige-Trentino and Intl wine work in Germany and South Africa.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Take care of the vineyard and the wine will follow.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”The expressiveness of the wine is my highest goal”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2002, at age 27
AGENT RED: Ciao, Sabino! We are thrilled to be showing your Masseria del Fauno 2010 Nero d’Avolatoday. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SABINO: It is my pleasure and thank you for your interest in my wine.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SABINO: Listening to my family and local people in the vineyards of Puglia as a child as they cheerfully cut grape clusters off the vines and chatted about life. It seemed to be such a harmonious life with nature at its center.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SABINO: I have known some high level winemakers but in fact it was my grandfather’s passion for wine that most influenced my winemaking and maintaining a respect for the local Italian grape varieties.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SABINO: I prefer to make wine as a representative of Italian viticulture and to maintain a high level of quality with native varieties. The consumer who enjoys the wines and learns about the region is my focus.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
SABINO: Nero d’Avola from Sicily is an amazing wine when grown in the right balance between sun and ocean breezes. We do not allow the grape to become overripe so the balance of it’s beautiful fruit flavors of blackberry, licorice and blueberry with healthy acidity is a rich and elegant food wine.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SABINO: Due to the fruit style of the wine, I prefer lighter meat dishes, pork or turkey, which are prepared with fragrant herbs such as fennel and rosemary . The long finish of the wine is very friendly to a wide variety of dishes.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sicily such a special place for Nero D’Avola?
WINEMAKER: In Sicily, generally the soils are rough and tough so the vines have to struggle to survive. If they make it to middle age, the character will be strong and if managed well, will have excellent character.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SABINO: I consult for a variety of wine producers throughout Italy including an estate near Pisa and in Chianti as well as other family owned vineyards in Puglia so I am quite busy with my family and work.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
WINEMAKER: First and foremost with an open mind and without preconceived ideas or opinions. Drink the first bottle blind if you like and then you will truly know the wine and it’s character.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SABINO: I very much appreciate your interest in my wine and our region, there is much to know and experience in Southern Italy.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!