The Italian Job

The Italian Job
Richard Dare, guest columnist

The plan was flawless.  The heist was perfect.  The escape was clean.  The only threat was the one they never saw coming.  This autumn, they’re not in it for the pay.  They’re in it for the payback.  Nicosia Wines (nicosiawines.com) presents at the magical Culinary Loft (culinaryloft.com) in the heart of Manhattan:  Fondo Filara Frappato, Fondo Filara Etna Rosso, Fondo Filara Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico, and Sosta Tre Santi Nero d’Avola in The Italian Job.
Deep in the heart of Sicily, generous and untamed, labor Nicosia’s fine winemakers hidden in the shadow of a ten-thousand foot high volcano, Mount Etna, that dominates the horizon just behind their 115-year old winery in Trecastagni, Italy, nourishing the soil with thousand year old ash.  But this taster thinks more than the volcanic soil, more even than the perfect goût de terroir, is the skillful blend of Denominazione di Origine Controllata grapes Nicosia’s five generations of family winemakers employ to infuse Nicosia’s full-bodied, irrepressibly aromatic offerings with what can only be described as emotional intensity worthy of a Sicilian.


Graziano Nicosia, fifth generation winemaker

A delightful apéritif, Nicosia’s Fondo Filara Frappato (12.5% alcohol vol.) appears a vivid red in the glass, and at $15-20 per bottle (retail price) pleasantly fragrant bouquet of fresh red fruits, raspberries and blueberries to the nose with a fresh, lively profile not unlike a cheeky Beaujolais.  Frappato pairs well with cheeses and salamis or pizza, it is also a valid alternative to white wine, particularly when served with flavorful fish course dishes.  But unlike its sister wines, the Frappato is best served slightly chilled at about 57°F. 

Nicosia’s Fondo Filara Etna Rosso (13-14% alcohol vol.) is a skinnier wine for my taste, but still ruby red at $30-33 per bottle (retail price) and produces an intense bouquet with elegant hints of wild red fruit, spices and licorice.  It’s dry, robust and lingering with a long and pleasant balsamic finish that seems a wonderful accompaniment to such first-course dishes as risotto, roasted and grilled meats, or semi-aged flavorful cheeses.

Their Fondo Filara Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico (13-14% alcohol vol.) is the color of cherries, also $30-33 per bottle (retail price) and boasts a rich aromatic profile featuring hints of red fruit.  It’s warm with a smooth taste would pair well with roasts, grilled meats, small game, and sharp and aged cheeses—although to be fair I enjoyed it with a bit of Amedei chocolate from Tuscany (70% cacao blend) which created a sort of multiplier effect bringing the wine’s tannins to a luxurious effect (amedei.com). 
And finally, Nicosia’s very satisfying full bodied Sosta Tre Santi Nero d’Avola (12.5-13.5% alcohol vol.) grown on 25-year old vines and $40 per bottle (retail price) appears dark ruby red in the glass, with a typically fruity aroma with touches of morello cherry.  The fruity aroma can be tasted in the mouth, warm and lingering, and would prove an ideal accompaniment to many of the tastiest Italian recipes including baked pasta with meat sauce or meat couscous, roasted game and aged cheeses.


The fine Nicosia presentation


After pulling off an amazing job in the great Sicilian winemaking tradition, the only thing left for Nicosia to accomplish now is to find a worthy and capable distributor to deliver this little bit of Sicilian heaven to the tables and taste buds of families in the United States.

Don’t worry though, they’re hot on the trail of a distributor even as we speak.  But until that deal is sealed, you’ll just have to take my word for how delicious and satisfying their wines really are!



The Culimary Loft, site of the Nicosia Wines event

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Richard Dare is an author, cultural commentator and executive who enjoys fine wines and good food. 

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