Rosso Noto

Gotta admit: I was kinda drawn to the packaging on this one–I kinda like these stubby little tailored bottles–and combined with a smart, professional label, the combination is irresistible. I, too can be a sucker for packaging, but what catches my eye runs opposite what label-producers market to the 99% *red blend* demo. This grape is a mainstay in Sicily–the largest wine-producing region in Italy. It makes me wonder why there isn’t more Nero d’Avola grown in places like Paso Robles–or any of the other parts of California experiencing gradual warming. Googling the producer for the link shows they produce SY and PV, which would be fascinating to taste. Petit Verdot from Sicily: now THERE’S something that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

Dark ruby in the glass with a thin clear rim still tinged with pink. Dry, dusty heat in the nose, ridiculously clean–new-worldy, even–a crisp, tight, slightly green herbaceousness dipping ever-so-slightly into funk. Berry perfectly subdued, showing restrained expression mired in mineral and the supremely-ripe tendencies apparent down deep are kept clear of any cloying, hot-weather gushiness.

On the palate, the fruit continues this shielded expression–feeling FAR younger than 6–and carefully keeping its cards hidden, letting the imagination work to find gravity hiding down between the acid and structure. It’s rather supple and elitely formal, but the brashness of searing tannin works overtime to quell these polished, elegant instincts. This strikes me as a rather hi-production wine, and I am shocked at how well it all comes off. And, I think it’s got another decade or two stuffed into it. Fruit might never raise its head firmly above the tannin, but it will be beautiful.

2016 MAZZEI ‘Zisola Estate’ Nero d’Avola Noto Rosso Sicilia DOC Italy 13.0

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