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Sicily tasting notes

text and photographs © 2014 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Sicily and its wines.

PALERMO

See all stockists of Palermo wines on wine-searcher.com

white wines

Azienda Agricola Gregorio De Gregorio, Catarratto 2013 Bio, Italy
IGT Terre Siciliane, from Palermo. Perfumed and enjoyably light and fresh, floral notes but a pleasing little note of biscuit or honey. The palate has delicious bite, the acidity is very good, that nice little bitter touch that keeps this fresh with a bit of grip, and a pleasing core of fruit. 87/100.

Donnafugata, Palermo Chiaranda 2010, Italy
DOC Contessa Entellina, from Palermo. This is Chardonnay, with sesame seeds and butter, plenty of oak evident, and very ripe fruit beneath. The palate has that full ripeness too, a flood of sweet fruit with an almost marmalade character, apricot and real ripeness, the acidity very good and adding cut to the sweetness and moderate oaky vanilla of the finish. A sweeter, riper 'international' style, and well done. 89/100.

Principi di Spadafora, Schietto Chardonnay 2011, Italy
IGP Sicilia, from Palermo. Very light in colour, still quite a green tinge to the colour for a 2011, and a fresh, unoaked and breezy nose, the sweet ripeness of the fruit is good, carrying on to the palate, with a very dry, mineral touched finish, showing a lick of salt and plenty of pithy lemon grip to fruit and acidity. 88/100.

Tenute Rapitalá, Chardonnay Grand Cru 2012, Italy
IGT Terre Siciliane, from Palermo. Big, showy bottle, glowing golden colour. Loaded with nutty, ripe, almost cabbage aromas that are buttery and rich, with a solid apple fruit beneath. On the palate this is fleshy and ripe, there's a layering of oak, that nuttiness, and plenty of sweet fruit. It is soft in terms of its acidity and structure, verging on being slightly flabby arguably, but there is freshness and the sweet fruit does drive through to a nutty, fruity finish. 88/100.

Cusumano, Shamaris Grillo 2013, Italy
IGT Terre Siciliane, from Palermo. A touch of smokiness here, a touch of nuttiness, but much more fruit comes through. Very nice palate, perhaps not quite the sheer decadence of the Caruso & Minini, but has lovely elegant balance, the fruit ripe and flooding the mid palate, and the finish dry and quite rich. 88/100.

Principi di Spadafora, Grillo 2012, Italy
IGP Terre Siciliane, from Palermo. Elegant and extremely well balanced, this has lovely juicy fruit on the palate, preceded by a beautifully tempered nose, touched by honey and custard, but with such lovely fresh and pure orchard fruit. The finish has a fine, biting dry acidity that really pushes through into a long, tapering finish. 90/100.

Cusumano, Cubia Insolia 2012, Italy
DOC Sicilia, from Palermo. Bright and focused, with gentle toast and butter, and attractively open and inviting. The palate has good freshness, but arguably it is just lacking in a little fruit and flesh, the wine is a touch dilute in the finish. 85/100.

Azienda Agricola Gregorio De Gregorio, Inzolia 2013 Bio, Italy
IGT Terre Siciliane, from Palermo. There are some herbal and sauvage notes here, a touch wild and earthy/animal suggesting a natural yeast character. The palate is dry, with a touch of that yeast and clove, light breadiness. Very dry in the finish, perhaps just lacking a touch of punch and follow through. 86-87/100.

red wines

Donnafugata, Mille e una Notte 2008, Italy
DOC Contessa Entellina, from Palermo. Nero d'Avola and other grapes. Inky dark colour, with masses of espresso oak, chocolate and the darkest plum and black berry fruit. The palate is very dry, perhaps that oak just slightly overdone, drying out the palate and submerging the fruit, and the slightly underripe feel of the tannins adds to a sensation of dryness and lack of generosity, despite that endless depth on the nose. 87/100.

Azienda Agricola Gregorio De Gregorio, Nero d'Avola 2012 Bio, Italy
IGT Terre Siciliane, from Palermo, Rounded, ripe and up front, this has some spice and meatiness, and plenty of animal and gamy edges to add a level of interest. The palate has quite a dry character, the tannins and the touch of woodiness very dry, the acidity taut. But there is a floral, cherry stone freshness and lightly briary note to this that adds a charming level of interest. 89-90/100.

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