If you can fall in love with a place just from drinking its wine, then I am head over heels for Sicily. Cusumano is one of several Sicilian producers that has impressed me with superb wines that truly convey a sense of place. Founded in 2001, Cusumano is managed by brothers Diego and Alberto Cusumano and the winery has extensive holdings throughout the island.
Noà Tenuta Presti e Pegni 2013 Sicilia DOC ($55) is one of the wines from the Cusumano portfolio that really wowed me. Any discussion of wines from Sicily has to start with its indigenous grape - Nero d'Avola. A rich and powerful red, it takes a talented winemaker to handle the power of Nero d'Avola so that it doesn't overwhelm the palate. Noà artfully blends Nero d'Avola with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to create a beautiful symphony of juicy dark fruit with piquant touches of spice, mocha, and minerality. Noà is impressive enough to pair with gourmet cuisine and an elegant way to upgrade pizza night!
For a more affordable introduction to the Cusumano style, give their estate bottled 100% Nero d'Avola 2014 ($12) a swirl. Spicy and fruit forward with pronounced mineral & earthy flavors, this is a vino with personality.