I know I just opened this guy’s little brother a couple days ago, but it so impressed me I was dying to try the one nearly double in price. They’re calling this a Nero d’Avola ‘cru’, selected from the best head-trained, organic estate spots, though it is a blend with plentiful SY and CF. And–in a theme most 1%ers readily acknowledge from years dealing with “reserve” wines–the lesser bottling easily carries more charm and vibrancy. It also is a couple years younger–I’m not overlooking that. Clear ruddy ruby with a touch of sediment, it thins to slight brick at the wide, clear rim. A subdued nose expressing beautiful polished cherry with plenty of savory aspects: some from the complexity of fruit; some from tertiary. Cinnamon and leather are the main themes, with berry slighted slightly down into cranberry and ripe strawberry territory. It’s frankly gorgeous to smell, with a little off-vegetal latex earthiness cementing its pedigree.
Spicy heat hits the tongue on entry, a dry acid distilling the fruit into thin-ness and pointing directly to more heat and plentiful tannins appearing early-middle. Somewhere in there resides some fruit, though it is pie-cherry in concentration, suffering from a lack of stuffing. Rather boring wine to drink, though I wouldn’t necessarily throw it out of bed for lack of trying. Plus it’s a blend, and while blends can make very yummy wines, in Italy (and California) they lack typicity. “What are you drinking, sir?” “I’m drinking a decently vague Nero d’Avola that’s almost 50% other shit.” Additionally, I don’t think this wine has NEAR the aging stamina one would expect, and is drinking at peak, with already-scant fruit fading quickly. This wine’s good–it’s just not that interesting.
2014 MARCHESI MAZZEI Zisola ‘Doppiozeta’ Nero d’Avola/SY/CF 65/25/10 Rosso Noto DOC Sicilia Italy 14.5