Sicilian Sisters


Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen (CSW)

(TORONTO, ON) – If you are following the wine press these days Sicily is a bit of a wine darling. Volcanic soils imparting a magic spell on some of its wines. Of course a nasty little secret is it’s also a destination for loads of toxic garbage from the EU, somewhat in the same role as Haiti.

So, if you are floating in a Sicilian haze of the latest and best Sicilian wines, are you drinking uranium enriched grape juice?

We can start with a Barone Montalto Viognier.

sicilian-sistersViognier is a delicate grape that requires great expertise to get it just right. You might expect more of if it in France than Italy but, then again, Creekside Estates in Niagara produces some awesome Viognier.

The Sicilians take their stab with this wine. True to Viognier’s roots, great peach, apricot, and mango on the nose.

On the palate it scatters a bit like an Iraqi brigade under an ISIS suicide bombing. Sure, there is some peach and cantaloupe on the palate, but it sputters and skids all over the place.

Real diffuse and an ADHD wine. There is much sourness and a lack of direction on the palate.

A definite disappointment. A short and almost bitter finish.

(Barone Montalto 2014, Terre Siciliane IGT, 750 mL, 12.5%, $15.95, LCBO #435479, Square Media Group Rating 86 /100)

Hoping for better results, we move to a Sicilian red.

Ruby coloured with aromas of toast, mushroom, cactus pear, cherry, and raspberry.

On the palate, it is terribly easygoing with some moderate tannins and a certain nonchalant smoothness. Cherry, raspberry, and cherry Jell-O on the palate. It’s a pleasing light weight and I love the mushroom presence.

Great with a black bean-based veggie burger, or a mushroom and asparagus risotto. If only you could find a diner serving Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy. Drink before 2017.

To bring out the ‘shrooms, I’d say decant an hour prior to serving. (Antichi Vinai il Mascalese Nerello 2013, IGT Terre Siciliane, 750 mL, LCBO #442376, 13%, $16.95, Square Media Group Rating 89/100)

By the way, Nerello is a Sicilian grape which comes in two versions; Nerello Mascalese and the rarer Nerello Cappucio.