Barren, rocky, sandy and sometimes even desolate, Sicily can be harsh terrain and not the first place people recall when thinking of premium wine regions.  Yet with its indigenous workhorse grape, Nero d’Avola, the best producers are crafting amazing wines. 
Lying squarely in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily’s climate is arid and often times very hot.  Moderating the issue of the heat is often a winemakers biggest challenge. 

However, as I reported early last month, Tasca d’Almerita is doing it well.   Their 100 acres, 80 of which are under vine, sit at 2,500 feet above sea level.  A height at which the aggressive temperatures are somewhat moderated.  Recently the family retained enologist Carlo Ferrini to consult with vineyard and winemaking matters and the results have been amazing. 
The 2010 Lamuri is 100% Nero d’Avola and is a fresh and exciting red.  Fragrant aromas of wild underbrush, herbs, berries and saline dot the nose and palate.  Lifting and even refreshing in the mouth, the wine has wonderful balance and compliments a vast array of food. Medium bodied, with good persistence on the finish.  There’s nothing not to like here.  90 points, about $17 and like it’s 2011  sibling, a best buy. 

~ The 2010 sports the older red label ~

Wine is not complete without food.  That’s the hallmark of the way we evaluate wines here at TuscanVines.  At the table, with friends, family and food.  The Italian way.  With this wine we decided to make a “Sicilian Stew” – a harvest from the Mediterranean. 

Sicilian Stew

12 Littleneck Clams
12 Large Sea Scallops
12 Shrimp
1 pound Monkfish Filet cut into 3 pieces
1 Onion, diced
1/3 Bottle Dry White Wine 
1 Can Italian Cherry Toamtoes (14 oz)

In a large heavy bottomed pot,  saute the onions in olive oil until softened.  Add the tomatoes and the wine to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and add the clams. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and let the clams simmer until they open. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sear the scallops until almost cooked through.  Turn them only once and dry them before you start otherwise they’ll steam. Cook 2-3 minutes per side.  

After the clams have been simmering for 10 minutes, add the shrimp and fish to the pot. Stir and cover again.  They will be cooked at the same time the clams open.  Here is everything in the pot at about the 16 minute mark. 

~ Sicilian Stew Simmering ~

Add the scallops for about a minute just before serving.  Toss through and add the chopped parsley for color.  Serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread, fork and spoon!  I walked in the house from the gym at 6:30 on a weeknight and we were eating this dish at 7:05!  Simple, delicious and very healthy.   Serves 3. 

~ The Chef’s Bowl ~

Cibo e Vino!

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