Sicilian wines at wine dinner in Charlotte - Printable Version

+- WineBoard (
+--- Forum: Italian Wines/Varieties (
+--- Thread: Sicilian wines at wine dinner in Charlotte (/thread-7844.html)

- wondersofwine - 05-23-2008

Thursday, May 8th, I attended a wine dinner at Mama Ricotta's in Charlotte with Sicilian wines from Tasca d'Almerita. I sat with four other people including a dentist and his wife an interior designer, another interior designer and a woman who is considering moving to Charlotte (she presently has homes in Connecticut and Florida and is tired of living out of two homes.) Small world--the lady's home in Connecticut is in the town where I attended my uncle's funeral in March. The dentist attended a University of Nebraska football game in my hometown of Lincoln and ate two runzas which are made and sold by the Everett family. I know Donnie and Mary Everett (now Mrs. London) from high school.

Now the wines...Tasca d'Almerita is 2500 ft. high--away from the sea. The estate also has an active farm with sheep, etc. They produce 3 million bottle of wine (the first white wine we had or counting all their wines?) A charming female representative was on hand to tell us about the estate and the wines. I saw her again Saturday at the Vintners' Tasting.

The first white wine was called Leone and was a blend of Chardonnay and an indigenous grape Cataratto Bianco. It is fermented in stainless steel tanks--no oak aging. Dry, appleskin flavor but also a scent and flavor I couln't identify but that I liked--probably from the unfamiliar Catarotto Bianco.

Catarratto Bianco is the second most-planted light skinned varietal in Italy, most notably the island of Sicily, where it dominates the western portion of the island. Used in great quantities in Marsala, a wine that can be made in either sweet or dry styles, although a large portion is also used to make industrial alcohol. The Catarratto has two forms: the Comune, a major player in the lake of surplus European wine, and the much higher quality Lucido. When made with care the Lucido version can boast flavors of grapefruits and apricots, with a backbone of firm acidity.

(Hopefully the Lucido version was used in the Leone wine.) Another website says Cataratto Bianco (sometimes spelled Catarrato Bianco) is the 20th most common grape cultivar in the world rankings.

Our second white wine was a blend of three Sicilian grapes, the Cataratto Bianco, Insolia and Grecanico. It was a nice, pleasant, food-friendly wine. This was an IGT named Regaleali Bianco.

The first red wine, Tasca d'Almerita Lamuri Nero d'Avola, was dark crimson with a slight transparency. Pleasant, smooth cherry notes with a hint of depth. Easy drinking.

Their flagship red wine is the Rosso del Conte Contea di Sclafani, a DOC from 50-year-old vines. Dark purple and opaque. I wasn't overly impressed. Maybe it was too recent a vintage and needed some additional seasoning. The importers' notes say that Rosso del Conte is considered the father of modern high-end Sicilian reds. Roberto could probably add his two cents if he were checking in.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 05-23-2008).]