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Unlike some Nero d’Avola based wines from Sicily and nearby Puglia, there’s nothing complicated or foreboding about Cellaro’s 2012 Luma Nero d’Avola. Luma’s Nero d’Avola wears a friendly purple robe and elicits a smile from the moment it’s poured. For starters, a reassuring aroma complete with the scents of fresh berries, earth, and herbs, seeps from the glass to delight the nose. And in the mouth, Luma’s round, balanced mélange of fruit and earth grace the palate, before exiting gracefully with a nod and a smile. Neither massive nor complex, this Nero d’Avola doesn’t bully its way to the top; it charms its way with exceptional balance and eminent drinkability. Enjoy the 2012 Luma Nero d’Avola at cool room temperature (60°-64° F) after 15-20 minutes of aeration.
The 2012 Cellaro Luma Nero d’Avola provides the ideal complement to the classic dishes of Sicily and southern Italy. This purple potion pairs splendidly with thick slices of Sicilian pizza, topped with black olives, fresh tomatoes, and thin slices of pepperoni; Eggplant Parmigiana; lasagna; manicotti; and homemade pastas, served with crusty bread and plenty of heady tomato sauce. Pasta e Fagioli, sausage and bean dishes with tomato and red pepper, and Bracciole provide good company to Luma’s Nero d’Avola, too. Pork offers another natural companion to Nero d’Avola, especially pork roasts encrusted with an olive and artichoke tapenade. And that’s not all. As the finale to a classic Italian feast, why not pour a glass of the 2012 Luma Nero d’Avola and savor it with Grana Padano or one of Italy’s other flavorful hard cheeses?
The somnolent hill town of Sambuca di Sicilia dozes under the seemingly relentless sun of southern Sicily. From Palermo one drives due south, skirting the mountains and the sea for an hour or more before arriving at this ancient town. To the south of Sambuca lie the gleaming Mediterranean Sea and North Africa beyond. To the north, the road leads to Corleone and the rugged mountains that lace the forbidding interior of this mystical island. Little did I know that a visit to my wife’s Sicilian family in sleepy Sambuca would uncover yet another unsung Sicilian treasure – Cantina Cellaro.
Cantina Cellaro specializes in fashioning authentic Sicilian wines from indigenous white and red grape varieties. Inzolia plays first fiddle, or more appropriately in Sicily, first mandolin, among the cantina’s white grape varietals, though it is often blended with a lesser portion of Chardonnay. Nero d’Avola enjoys the leading role among Cellaro’s red varietals. Cantina Cellaro’s Luma Series of wines comprise the winery’s finest offerings and two of the island’s greatest wine values.
Sicily is a large and varied land that wears as many faces as a circus harlequin. Its land and people are as diverse as any earthly realm. At the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, Sicily possesses a history and personality all its own. In terms of wine, Sicily is more a continent than an island. Its sheer variety of grapes, autochonous and otherwise, set it apart from the rest of Europe
Given the wide array of soils and climates that exist in Sicily, both red and white grape varieties thrive in this ancient land. Indigenous red varietals such as Nero d’Avola and Malvasia Nera produce most of the island’s full-bodied, red wines that are the match for any fine Syrah. Syrah, too, is well-suited to Sicily’s hot, dry summers and is gaining in popularity. However, the most pleasant surprise in modern Sicilian winemaking may be just how good the still, dry white wines of the island have become, especially those made from the native Insolia (also called Inzolia or Anzolia).
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