Wine of the Month
Featured Wine: Donnafugata Sherazade
Grape Variety: 100% Nero D’Avola
Denomination: Sicilia DOC Nero D’Avola
Production Zone: Contessa Entellina Estate, Southwestern Sicily
Vinification: Stainless steel with maceration on the skins for about 6-8 days at a temperature of 77-82* F.
Aging: 4 months in tanks and minimum 3 months in the bottle
Color: Ruby-red with hints of violet
Price: Around $20
This has been a doozy of a month! As I may have mentioned, I’m staying with my mom; extended due to Covid-19, but, here is where I am, for now. I was headed to L.A., a little bit of R-n-R, but it all fell through, I am so glad I stayed, here’s why.
My mom fell. And not just fell, but lost consciousness. Eleven staples later, it was like a switch went off; she went from a completely independent, high energy woman to someone I had never met before; needing help with everything, unsteady on her feet, dizzy spells, and leaving me with very many chores on this half acre of property. I am a cook, dish washer, chauffer, maid (not a great maid), nurse, gardener, pet sitter for her three legged dog, my weird dog and a bird (who doesn’t like me very much). And meanwhile, my 89lb mom eats like a horse; three solids/day plus snacks. There is little time to think but when I do, I feel sick, thinking what would’ve happened if I had been in L.A.
Then, we received the sad news of the death of my Uncle Kenny’s dear friend, Terry. They worked together and whenever they had business in L.A. we got together for dinner. Although I did not know him well, we had fun together and I appreciated being included; I was introduced to Polish food and infused vodka, amazing stuff; another time, we wound up at the House of Blues in Hollywood, sitting in the VIP section with Dan Akroyd, listening to him talk, a lot. When my Uncle Kenny was sick, Terry came over and read to him. What I am saying is, as they say in Arizona, he was good people.
These days, my day becomes mine right around 8pm. That is when I sit down to eat and have a glass of wine. The slow unwinding of my body is like a drug. My tight muscles swirl and release tension, they pulse with exhaustion. During these moments, I have to remind myself to be grateful. And on a most recent night, I was filled with gratitude; I was introduced to another beauty by Donnafugata, their Sherazade. As expected, the label is beautiful and very unique; here we have Sherazade, female protagonist of the Arabian Nights, flying in a dark background, draped in lovely robes with a glass of wine. Honestly, their wine labels should be framed; they are the modern day version of Alphonse Mucha. I took a deep breath in and was soothed even more by what I now associate with Sicily, cherry, plum and spice. It was as if the nose stimulated all of my senses. Then, the first sip, these same notes became a reality, the cherry is slightly tart, the plum and spice all there, finishing off with soft tannins; simple and very satisfying.
This wine fascinates me, I’ve been drinking a variety of Nero D’Avola wines and although each one is unique, they are still consistent in many aspects. But Sherazade is quite unique amongst the others, very much like a Pinot Noir. The earthiness and funk I’ve come to expect with this grape wasn’t there. Maybe, it has something to do with the higher temperatures used during vinification?
Like most Pinot Noirs, this wine stands on its own, without food. But, it paired nicely with stuffed shells, filled with ricotta, parmesan and herbs lightly covered with a simple marinara sauce, (real nice). I also had the opportunity to pair this with fried shrimp, corn on the cob (non GMO), and an avocado, tomato, red onion and cucumber salad in a subtle lime juice dressing, yum! There is lightness to this wine that makes it a fine companion to seafood.
Sherazade pairs wonderfully with you in a comfy chair, a good book in one hand, the other free to scoop up your glass. Or, if you are feeling more social, a small, al fresco dinner party works. And, as usual with Donnafugata, there is no need for flowers; the bottles themselves are an ideal centerpiece. This wine is pleasing to the eyes, pleasing to the nose and pleasing to the palate.
I am so lucky to have my Mom, my Uncle Kenny, I am so lucky to have had the chance to meet Terry. I am so glad I was here and not in L.A. (you won’t hear me say that often). So, when you are all set up, a giant bowl of pasta on the table, Sherazade bottles placed in the center, friends around you, ready to make your first toast of the evening, make it a little longer, no one will mind (screw ‘em if they do), give your thanks to those who have shown up when you needed them, maybe you will even remind your guests to be grateful.