The deeply colored 2016 Centonze Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG provides more than a glimpse of Sicily’s viticultural renaissance and why Cerasuolo di Vittoria is Sicily’s first and only DOCG. For starters, Centonze’s 2016 Cerasuolo di Vittoria offers a deep bright purple color and a tantalizing aroma of bright, fleshy fruit, which follows through on the palate in the form of dark cherry, pomegranate, and plum. Add a muscular well-toned structure and a lightning-like vitality to the wine’s hedonistic fruit and the 2016 Centonze Cerasuolo di Vittoria gives ample testimony to Cerasuolo di Vittoria’s preeminence as Sicily’s premier appellation. Better still, this wine is simply hard to put down. For optimal enjoyment we strongly suggest affording the 2016 Centonze Cerasuolo di Vittoria at least 20-30 minutes of aeration before enjoying it at cool room temperature. (58°-62° F). Enjoy!
For those in search of a polished, bold-flavored red wine to accompany many of Italy’s beloved culinary classics, look no further than the 2016 Centonze Cerasuolo di Vittoria. It provides the ideal accompaniment to Sicilian and Southern Italian specialties as well as fine cuts of meat and complex sauces. Veal Marsala, roast pork tenderloin rubbed with an olive and artichoke tapenade, and grilled rib eye topped with martini olive butter all make especially tasty companions to this wine. For more elaborate fare, beef or lamb Osso Bucco also gets two thumbs up. Classic country favorites such as thick slices of Sicilian pizza, topped with black olives, fresh tomatoes, and thin slices of pepperoni, or a heady pasta dish with eggplant and Ricotta Salata provide more winning accompaniments. Eggplant Parmigiana, lasagna, manicotti, and homemade pastas, served with crusty bread and a heady tomato sauce, provide other simple but delectable choices to pair with Centonze’s emblematic Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Also, consider ending a meal with a glass of this wine in the company of Italy’s finest Pecorino cheeses. Buon Appetito!
Centonze, a certified organic family-owned winery, is a relative newcomer to the American market and a winery we have had our eye on for some time. With each vintage, Centonze seems to find a way to ratchet up the quality of its wines, to the point of offering an enviable portfolio of Sicilian wines from both indigenous and international grape varietals, all of which display more than a good bit of hedonistic pleasure.
Established in 1998 by the Centonzes, a family of oenologists, the talented father, son, and daughter team of Giovanni, Nicola and Carla fashion some of Sicily’s most exciting wines. The family’s nearly 50 acres of prime vineyards hail primarily from western Sicily in the area of Trapani and are certified organic. The family manages the vineyards and makes the wines themselves. Traditional Sicilian varietals predominate, including Sicily’s prized Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG (this month’s feature and Sicily’s sole DOCG). Centonze also fashions fine Nero d’Avola, Frappato, Grillo, and Syrah. The Centonzes have been at the forefront of Sicily’s resurgence as a producer of high quality wines. Moreover, they have provided important contributions to modern organic winemaking in Sicily. The name Centonze on a bottle of wine has become a guarantee of both authenticity and high quality.
In terms of wine, Sicily is more a continent than an island. Its sheer variety of grapes, autochthonous and otherwise, set it apart from the rest of Europe. In addition, Sicily’s grape harvest is the longest in Europe. Harvest begins the first days of August in the island’s western provinces and doesn’t end until the vine-covered slopes of Mt. Etna have been picked in November. Due to the proliferation of mountains, the surrounding sea, Sirocco winds, and extreme temperatures, more climates and zones exist in Sicily than in any other single wine producing region on Earth, and this doesn’t even take into account what are popularly referred to as microclimates. And then there are the island’s soils, a countless array of colors and textures that are capable of imparting infinite variations to the wines they render.
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 finest and full-bodied red wines, which are the match for exceptional 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). Marsala, the island’s most famous wine, is making a comeback as well. Produced in both dry and sweet style styles, Marsala is a fortified wine made on the western side of Sicily from the indigenous Grillo grape and other assorted varietals. Marsala is best known for the flavor it adds to chicken or veal dishes that bear its name, but fine renditions of Marsala constitute some of the world’s greatest dessert wines.
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