21 December 2012

Zonin Wines from Southern Italy and Sicily

I get a lot of different offers from publicists and wineries. Most just say, "Here's this wine, would you like to try it?" Others represent many different brands, and ask me what I'd like to try. I skip past the expensive, most well-known bottles, and always request the more obscure grapes, the lesser-known regions, and those that appear to have more of an interesting story behind them. With this batch from Zonin, I got all of those, plus a neat little 4GB USB drive shaped like a Prosecco bottle.

While the thumb drives are a far more efficient method of passing along data than CDs or other media, I always zap them and then pass them along to friends of mine who work as teachers, as they always need some easy, portable media for transferring files. As much as I enjoy the gadgets, I like it more when they get to be used in a productive fashion.

Quick side note: five of these wines are 100% representations of fairly obscure grapes, so for anyone looking to add to their ampelographic studies in liquid form, they're definitely worth checking out. Also, I don't have firm prices on these, but most are within the $10-15 range. As always, I will update this post later if I find out more details.

The first trio of wines comes from the big island of Sicily.

2011 Feudo Principi di Butera Insolia
Sicilia IGT
100% Insolia
13% abv.
Exceptionally light and delicate. Just a touch of lemon and yeast. This is quite possibly the mildest and softest Sicilian wine I've ever had, and it's highly recommended.

2010 Feudo Principi di Butera Nero d'Avola
Sicilia IGT
100% Nero d'Avola
13% abv.
Nero d'Avola is one of my favorite pizza and burger wines. Always great for a casual mid-week wine. Black cherry and spice, heavy tannins, tart finish.

2008 Feudo Principi di Butera Symposio
Sicilia IGT
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot
13.5% abv.
A well-balanced Bordeaux blend full of black cherry and leather and a touch of tomato leaf. It doesn't really taste Italian, but it's a solid blend on its own merits.

Puglia is the bootheel of Italy, and is called Apulia in English although it's very rare that you hear that. I'd suggest going by the native name, which is pronounced POO-lee-ah. These wines come from Salento, which covers the lower half of the bootheel.

2011 Masseria Altemura Fiano
Salento IGT
100% Fiano
12.5% abv.
This delightful little white wine has faint notes of melon and mild peach, low acidity and a full body. Strongly recommended for a good chicken salad sandwich that has a couple of grapes in the mix.

2010 Masseria Altemura Negroamaro
Salento IGT
100% Negroamaro
13% abv.
Really mild raspberry aroma, with a tart, ripe raspberry flavor and crispy finish. Low tannins and a pretty light body for a red wine. I've previously enjoyed this in rosé form but it was fun to try it in the full red style.

2010 Masseria Altemura Sasseo Primitivo
Salento IGT
100% Primitivo
13.5% abv.
Black cherry and leather, a touch of smoke and pie crust. While we can talk about the Crljenak Kaštelanski and Zinfandel family line, but this one stands on its own as a deep, tannic, red wine that demands a well-grilled chunk of meat. I enjoyed it with grilled steak over a salad and loved the combination.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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