Wine of the Month
Note:Create joy, one sip at a time.
Featured Wine: Pietradolzce
Grape Variety: Nerello Mascalese
Production Zone: Solicchiata, Northern Slopes of Etna
Vinification: Manual picking of the grapes, soft pressing. Maceration on the skins for 18 days.
Aging: 3 months in French oak tonneaux. Natural malolactic fermentation
Color: Ruby Red
Price: Around $20
I managed to get out of the mountains and down into civilization last month, for my birthday and just simply for some good old fashioned flavor. What do I mean by flavor? Well, literally, I wanted to eat some good food, taste yummy cocktails and figuratively, I needed to be around culture, diversity, the energy of a city, even one in crisis. Figuratively, I wanted to see some style, some flair, see people not dressed solely in Patagonia water proof shorts and/or fleece. Figuratively, I needed some grit, some beautiful and some ugly and, well, I really got what I asked for.
You see, I arrived in Los Angeles just as the peaceful protests were beginning and ended up staying through the riots, the looting, the curfews, the 8 pm cheers, explosions, helicopters swarming, sirens wailing and people actually living. It was incredible and invigorating. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way; I was quite content to sip wine on the patio of my Airbnb, alone, amongst the chaos, as a matter of fact, I was more than content, I was happy. I truly realized how happy I am in LA once I was back in Flagstaff enjoying a glass of Pietradolce; because like certain smells or songs, a good wine stirs up lovely emotions, memories of joy, and this gorgeous wine reminded me of summer nights in LA.
I’ve been reading articles about how organic and, even better, bio-dynamic farming actually improves and enhances wine; that having all of those native micro-organisms alive and supporting not only the soil but also the process, really makes a difference. I could not find much about this winery, it is rather new, starting in 2005, but I did learn that the vineyard uses ‘eco-friendly’ practices. They also seem to have much respect for Etna, the volcanic soil, their environs; and it shows, not just in the beauty of this wine, but their vineyard too, is incredibly beautiful.
So, yes, this wine is gorgeous; starting with the color, a lovely ruby red, held up to the light, it is jewel like. And it only gets better. The nose is full of earth, smoky pipe tobacco, a bit of funk (not so much funk as in the orange natural wines, but it is there), and a hint of lilac. Then, the first sip, aaaah, I mean, so delicate. It has that warm and welcoming texture reds have, but it is a lighter red, ideal for summer weather. There is a beautiful complex simplicity to this wine; it greets your palate much like the young reds served in rural Italy, with that soft tickle on your tongue and the back of your throat. The fruit is very subtle; it has a touch of tart cherry, but more prevalent is the minerality, the earthiness, tobacco and tannins. The soft floral notes seem to exist solely to enhance the medium acid finish, which is gentle, but lingers. Although the grapes are aged in French oak, I didn’t get any oak via nose or palate. This wine is very easy to sip; it is light and refreshing; the acid rounds off this wine so perfectly. I really loved this wine; it is so unique compared to the other Sicilian reds I have been sampling, even compared to wines made from the same native grape; it is almost hard to pinpoint all of the gentle aspects that make it so perfect. Normally, a wine with this description would lead me to believe it needs to be served with food, not so. It is fine without food, but also paired really well with a grilled flank steak, seasoned with merely salt and pepper, warm Italian bread and bruschetta. A Greek salad with lots of crumbled feta would also be a great partner in crime. It really is the perfect summer red. It should be enjoyed outdoors, sitting on your porch, stoop, deck, Airbnb patio or balcony. Pop on some old Pavarotti, some opera you love and haven’t listened to in ages, set the table with your finest china, crystal wine glasses, use cloth napkins, fill a beautiful vase, jar or pitcher with roses and lemon verbena, create a perfect moment and enjoy every aspect of this moment, alone or with someone you love.