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Today's Wine:

2016 Palazzo Malgara Nero d'Avola

2016 Palazzo Malgara Nero d'Avola Sardinia, Sicilia IGT, Italy *Direct import

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Today's Wine Comments:

Just Landed | Italy's Most Coveted Winemaking Island

Nero d’Avola is trending—to put it mildly. In Sicily, its ancestral home, the grape is wildly popular for its fresh zing of purple fruit and bright, refreshing character. A bit of that fervor is finally catching on here, though the grape remains obscure to most wine drinkers in the U.S. Of all the Nero d'Avola our Sourcing Panel tasting during a recent trip to Sicily, this one was a favorite. We loved Malgara’s bold and tangy version so much, we signed papers to Direct Import the wine on the spot - making us the only ones to have it in the States.

Things to Know:

“Now Sicily is one of the most exciting wine regions in the world,” says the New York Times in 2013. “That goes particularly for the reds, which are not heavy at all but fresh and lively.”

It was just such a “fresh and lively red” that our Direct Import team hoped to uncover on a recent peruse of Sicilian wineries. In this 2016 rendition from Palazzo Malgara, they found precisely that. “Nero d'Avola is Sicily's signature red and, like so many Sicilian wines, it has real personality,” writes the Wall Street Journal. Malgara’s Nero d’Avola is juicy and lush, with a mouthwatering quality that is best described as “gulpy.” Whether consumed by itself before a meal or alongside equally delectable items like caprese salad with fresh basil or pasta in a scarcely cooked sauce of heirloom tomatoes, this Direct Import is a sure thing.

·    Palazzo Malgara is a relatively new winery, launched in 1990 by two well known Italian winemakers with a desire to delve deeply into southern Italy’s native varietals. Here, too, the young enologists of Enoselezione Vini d 'Italia have once again managed to cultivate the tradition of classic Italian wines with indigenous grape varieties, but on the other hand to vinify the wines more modern, so that they appeal to a wider audience - and with one usual good price / performance ratio.

·    This fruit-forward red spent a brief 6 months in neutral oak barrels, leaving the wine’s naturally ripe and tangy character blissfully intact.

·    The largest of the Mediterranean’s many beautiful islands, Sicily is also the largest wine region in Italy and is increasingly significant as a source for excellent, value-packed imports.

·       According to Vinous: “Two thousand sixteen is another good vintage for Sicily.”

The Nero d'Avola grapes of the varietal red come from the southern Italian Sicily. 50% of the wine matured in oak barrels for several months, giving the wine a good structure. In the glass, the Nero d 'Avola Sicilia by Palazzo Malgara presents itself with a bright ruby ​​red. Full and harmonious on the palate, long-lasting in the taste, it spreads great drinking pleasure. Its intense nose is dominated by the scent of blackberries. Enjoy and serve it as a companion of strong and simple sausages, as a red wine for every day. 

Cranberry and light tobacco nose. Bright black cherry, tart raspberry, fresh cedar, cranberry tannin, fennel and rosemary. Easy finish with light, fleeting tones.

Cosimo Loia's estate is situated on the eastern slopes of the hills outside Montalcino. The entire property covers an area of approximately 15 hectares (37 acres) at an altitude of 310 meters (about 1,000 feet). Originally from Benevento (in Campania), Cosimo came to "Brunello land" when he married a woman from Montalcino. He fell in love with this part of Tuscany as well, and during the 1980s began to dedicate himself to wine. Palazzo's vineyards encompass 5 hectares (12 acres) and are located next to fine producers like Cerbaiona and Salvioni.

There have been major structural changes in the estate over the past few years: the arrival of consulting enologist Fabrizio Ciufoli has raised the quality level, and the production has also benefited from investment that included replacing most of the traditional casks with large Slavonian oak barrels, with a few barriques added for balance. This formula has given new life to the estate, which is now managed by Cosimo's daughter Elia.

With its bold fruit flavors, robust tannin and acidity, Nero d'Avola is a great wine to match with rich meaty meats. Some classic pairings include oxtail soup and beef stew, but you could easily swap BBQ burgers with bacon and everyone will think you're a genius.

Wine Ratings

92 Insider Points

Wine Reviews

Easy-Drinking Sicilian Value Makes for Great Dinner Pairing

Often times in Italy, you can find yourself a solid bottle of wine for next to nothing. It tastes good, feels good and goes well with whatever you're eating. That is what, in my mind, embodies every great Italian wine. We continue to bring over the wines of Palazzo Malgara for just that reason. 

Cranberry and light tobacco on the nose. Light-medium body with bright black cherry, tart raspberry, fresh cedar, cranberry tannin, fennel and rosemary. It finishes easy with light, fleeting tones. Serve up with your favorite lamb dish. Ready to drink. 92 Points - JZ Aug '18

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