Wine of the Month
Note: Create joy, one sip at a time.
Featured Wine: Villarini Nero D’Avola
Grape Variety: 100% Organic Nero D’Avola
Production Zone: Sicily, Italy
Color: Deep Black Cherry Red
Price: Around $15
After some of the more recent selections I’ve reviewed, and the pleasure I found delving into the winemakers, the vineyards, the history, you can imagine my frustration when I found very little about Villarini Nero D’Avola; wine.com mentioned this wine is made in cooperation with the Botter family, aha, I thought, a clue. My search for the Botter family didn’t tell me a thing about this wine either; I did learn that they are mass producers of wine all over Italy. This doesn’t thrill me; I mean yes, the most important part of a wine is whether you like it, and I did like it, but where wine comes from matters. The process is important, wine making really is an artform and mass production erases this beautiful aspect of wine. And also, I love reading about local vineyards and the positive impacts they have on the communities around them; some supply housing, some employ entire towns, they attract tourism which brings money into the regions. Am I a snob? No, well kinda; I am one to avoid chain restaurants and wine companies that mass produce are in my eyes similar to chain restaurants. With all of their experience, it is safe to say that the Botter family are skilled in marketing and it shows; the bottle is pretty, designed sort of old school; the entire bottle wrapped in a beautifully printed paper, sketches of each flavor they feel is present in the wine. Fair to note, it is appealing that their out-sourced grapes from all over Sicily, are organic grapes.
Nero D’Avola wines almost uniformly need to breathe, the nose and palate change dramatically in a matter of minutes. I try to always take in the nose upon first opening the wine and then again, once it has had a chance to breathe as the difference, or lack thereof always fascinates me.
Upon first look, the wine is a beautiful deep black-cherry red that clings lightly to the glass, letting us know it is medium bodied. The nose is ripe red cherry, leather, damp earth and oak. At first sip, I found the ripe red cherry to be very dominant with a hint of very ripe plum; this fruit continues on to the finish. The background consists of leather, oak and vanilla with a touch of spice. The vanilla also runs through to the finish.
Tannins start off subtly, but grow in intensity. The finish is long, the ripe cherry turns tart, the vanilla spreads and the tannins continue to take up all of the real estate in your mouth. It is well balanced; the flavors have some sort of cohesiveness; they meld into one. This wine can be enjoyed alone, I mean, with nobody around but you, just kidding, it is fine without food but much better with food.
I paired this wine with a sweet San Marzano meat sauce seasoned with sage and garlic bread. It was a very fine combination, not only was the sauce a great partner, but the garlic bread also went quite well; the tart cherry at the finish cut into the buttery bread. Interestingly, when pairing the wine with the sweet sauce, the wine gave off a bit of tropical fruit. I also paired Villarini with roasted lamb, seasoned lightly with rosemary, that too was very nice. If you decide to drink this wine solo (alone, with no one else), pop in some Ed Sheeran to keep you company. If you are entertaining, why not play some good old Italian-American music. A long time ago, I had this two-disc package called ‘Mob Hits’, sounds corny, but it really is filled with lots of lovely songs, from lots of Italian-American singers. A lot of these songs remind me of songs my Grammy listened to when I was a little girl, when she was entertaining. It is good background music for entertaining. Remember, the label is pretty, so, flowers are not needed if you leave the bottle(s) on the table.
Here are my final thoughts on this wine, as I mentioned before, I liked it. You can definitely do worse for the price, especially since it is organic. If you were in a jam, with limited options, this is a good Nero D’Avola option. But I do think that if Nero D’Avola is what you desire, there are better options; not only better in flavor, but also better because the grapes come from one vineyard that still cherishes the practice, the art, of making wine. Would I drink it again, yeah, it is good, it is not bad, it is affordable, it is organic, but for all of that, I have had better for just a few dollars more.