The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2015

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1 10  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2015 "Cabernet of whites," according to Matricardi. For the reds, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah are grown along with the indig- enous Nero d'Avola, arguably Sicily's most important grape. All are made varietally, with some also being blended. Vineyard land in Acate is also part of the equation, about a three-hour drive east from the winery in the Ragusa Province on Sicily's south coast. Though most of the varieties are also grown there, the terroir is quite different from that at the winery itself. While the vineyards at the winery are nestled in an inland valley, the Acate vineyards are right on the coast. The close proximity to the sea in Acate, with more wind, blazing sun and less geographical protection, lends a different set of characters to the fruit picked, which the winemaking team finds is best utilized when the grapes from both growing areas are blended together. "For us, it's not about isolating blocks of fruit for their unique characteristics," says Matricardi. "We are making food-friendly wines that speak to Sicily's winemaking, and [wine] consuming, heritage and style: afford- able everyday drinkability, with fresh flavor profiles and minimal use of oak." Stemmari's varietally labeled port- folio is line priced at an SRP of $9.99, with most also available in keg form for on-premise sales. Additionally, Stemmari has three proprietary wines worth searching out. The first, Baci Vivaci (Lively Kisses), priced at $12.99, is a delightfully fresh Petit Charmat made of 100% Grillo that screams for the beach or backyard pool. The other two are upscale white and red blends, both with an SRP of $13.99, created from Grillo and Nero d'Avola,that beautifully showcase the potential these native Sicilian grapes have. The white, Dalila, is 80% stainless steel–fermented Grillo blended with 20% oak-fermented Viognier, and is floral, flinty and com- plex on the palate. The red, Cantodoro, is 80% Nero d'Avola and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, both components separately barrel-fermented and aged for eight and 12 months, respectively, before blending and bottling; it delivers a rich mouthfeel laden with black fruit. "At Stemmari, our primary winemak- ing goal is to honor the grapes in the bottle," says Matricardi, "and make top-quality wines that can be enjoyed everyday." SUSTAINABILITY PHOTO COURTESY OF STEMMARI Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D., oversees production at Stemmari. Dalila is a stainless steel–fermented Grillo blended with 20% oak-fermented Viognier. Cantodoro is a 80% Nero d'Avola/20% Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

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