~ Etna, with all it’s majestic power stands over Sicily ~

Cusumano is a loosely configured constellation of properties spread across Sicily.  Spanning over six individual estate locations and covering over 500 hectares of vineyards, Cusumano is a large producer which crafts over a dozen different wines at many price points.

~ Sprawling vineyards at Cusumano’s San Giacomo Estate in Butera, their 2nd largest property and the source for today’s wine ~

Cusumano’s vineyards vary in age dramatically.  While the team has striven to replant some vineyards with a greater focus on producing quality wines, some of the vineyards remain rather old.  The vines that produce Cusumano’s Nero d’Avola are approaching 15 years of age, having been replanted in 2004.   One of the tools employed at Cusumano was to increase the density of the plantings to 5,000 plants per hectare.  This encourages the vines to struggle to survive; to burrow deeply into the poor volcanic Sicilian soil in search of nutrients needed to thrive.  The density encourages the vines to compete with each other for the needed nutrients.  As a result, the fruit the vine bears will mature with more complex flavors.

The 2016 Cusumano Nero d’Avola is a simple wine suited to simple fare.  100% Nero d’Avola, the wine is produced from vines that average 15 years in age.  After manual harvesting, the wine is vinified completely in stainless steel and then left to sit on the lees for 3-5 months depending upon the vintage characteristics.  The wine is then fined and bottled.

In the glass the wine is a medium violet color that is very pretty to look at.  Aromas of maraschino cherry, white pepper and dried herbs are prevalent.  On the palate, this straightforward red is pleasing and rather simple with flavors of red fruits and hints of cured black olives.  Light to medium bodied, it’s easy drinking and not at all contemplative.  Suited well enough to the pizza we were eating, it would also pair nicely with simple pastas.  Nice, but just that and although there’s nothing wrong with this wine, there are better choices available even given the easy going price of about $8.   85 points.  Find this wine.

~ One thing I do applaud here is the use of a glass stopper as cork on a wine that clearly is not meant for aging ~

Salute  e buon fine settimana!

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