2017 Centopassi Nero d'Avola
Region: Sicily < Italy
Grapes: Nero d’Avola
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: certified organic farming, 550m altitude, alkaline clay soil with some sand, poor in organic matter. Hand harvested in the first half of September; destemmed, crushed, and fermented in stainless steel, macerated for 8 days, then aged in stainless steel for 6 months before bottling. SO2 under 30mg/L.
Winemaker: Giovanni Ascione
Wine is about stories and this is possibly one of the best ever. So, the mafia was a pretty big deal in Italy, especially Sicily (debatable whether or not that is still the case!) and to support and cover up their illegal activities they owned and exploited a lot of land. When the Italian government began cracking down on organized crime, prosecuting and convicting many notorious Mafiosi, they also confiscated their lands leaving thousands of hectares abandoned. Recently the government started several organizations throughout the country to rehabilitate the neglected fields and bring life to them, in stark contrast to the death these lands have witnessed. Libera Terra is a social cooperative charged with replanting the land to vineyards to make the Centopassi wines. Certified organic farming is one of the most important tenets of Libera Terra and their recovery mission. Fun fact: the vineyards are located just outside the town of Corleone, of Godfather fame. They have partnered with winemaker Giovanni Ascione, who brings his natural winemaking experience and philosophy to the new project. The Nero d’Avola is treated like Gamay here – just a quick maceration, pressing and into stainless steel so its juicy, clean, fresh and unlike any Nero d’Avola I’ve ever had – in a good way! This wine is so drinkable and complete, with dark cherry fruit and a high-toned herbaceousness, finishing with a smoky, mineral note. The rich clay soils give it soft, velvety tannins, making it a great candidate for a quick chill and aperitivo enjoyment. But, like most Italian reds, it really sings with food – try with any pasta or red sauce dinner, especially one with capers and olives.