The 2009 Cusumano Benuara is a deeply colored potion that captures the brooding pulse of Sicily. And like Sicily and its soul mate Sàgana, Benuara can be stoic and reticent upon first meeting. However, after a few minutes in a glass to collect itself, it offers a wealth of luxuriant, hedonistic fruit, spice, and weight. It offers up scents reminiscent of ripe blackberries, plums, herbs, and Asian spices. This wine’s heady aromatics are followed by a wellspring of smooth rich flavors that expand in the mouth and explode in the wine’s long, lush finish. An uncommonly full-bodied wine that combines power, flavor, and texture, Benuara offers the taster a special treat as well as another pleasing glimpse of the oenological renaissance that continues to sweep Sicily. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest serving the 2009 Cusumano Benuara at cool room temperature (60°-65° F), but only after allowing it at least a few minutes or more in a glass or decanter to breathe. Better still, lay down a few bottles of this Sicilian specialty in a cool dark spot for another year or more, and then watch it work some magic! Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016. Salute!
For those in search of the ultimate full-bodied red wine to complement the classic dishes of southern Italy and Sicily, they need look no further than the 2009 Cusumano Benuara. This deep purple potion provides the perfect accompaniment to 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 a heady tomato sauce. Sausage and beans with tomato and red pepper provide another meditative experience with Benuara. Yet, Benuara is also a natural companion to veal chops, roast pork tenderloins, rubbed with an olive and artichoke tapenade; a grilled rib eye steak, topped with martini olive butter; and chicken with black olives and capers. For more elaborate fare, beef or lamb Osso Bucco gets our nod. And that’s not all. As the finale to a classic Italian feast, why not pour a glass of Benuara and savor it with one of Italy’s finest hard cheeses?
Cusumano is one of Sicily’s most exciting wineries. It is a family owned estate that is run with extraordinary precision by brothers Alberto and Diego Cusumano. They took over the management of the estate from their father Francesco in 2001. Since that time the winery has expanded and the quality of Cusumano’s wines has skyrocketed. We have been following the meteoric success of this estate since its inception and believe the Cusumano brothers are, indeed, on to something special with both their red and white wines. In short, the Cusumano brothers have been performing magical feats with a variety of classic and indigenous varietals from more than half a dozen vineyards they own throughout Sicily. With a passion for terroir and the production of authentic expressions of Sicily’s rich viticultural heritage, the Cusumano brothers have set about acquiring numerous vineyards in the western and southern regions of the Mediterranean’s largest island in order to offer the world a glimpse of what Sicily has to offer. The brothers have also reconstructed a 19th century family farmstead to handle modern wine production. Cusumano’s handsome new facility, which was completed only in 2003, houses everything from the winery’s offices to a new underground barrique cellar for aging wine – novel undertakings in Sicily. The Cusumano brothers fashion a myriad of red wines that center around Syrah and the indigenous varietal Nero d’Avola. They also make one of Sicily’s finest white wines from the elegant and distinctive Insolia vine, an indigenous white Sicilian varietal that produces hauntingly beautiful wine. Although successful across their entire wine portfolio, the Cusumano brothers’ most profound offerings remain the estate’s three proprietary red wines: Benuara, Noà, and Sàgana. Benuara combines premier barrels of the estate’s Nero d’Avola and Syrah into a rich, majestic red that ages well. Noà, an elegant blend of Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot easily puts to shame many a Bordeaux costing twice the price, while Sàgana epitomizes the greatness of Nero d’Avola in the hands of a consummate winemaker like Diego Cusumano. Kudos to the fratelli Cusumano for an outstanding portfolio of wines, and for helping Sicily turn a new page in its viticultural history.
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