On a freezing day in Manhattan, I felt the warm Sicilian sun thanks to the wonderful wines of Maggiovini. Wines from Sicily may be less familiar to consumers than Italian vinos from Tuscany or Piedmont but the region is steadily gaining acclaim thanks to talented winemakers like Massimo Maggio.
The Maggiovini portfolio includes wonderful expressions of international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir but I found the indigenous Sicilian grapes, such as Catarratto and Nero d'Avola, especially captivating.
Pinot Grigio's tight grip on consumers is hard to break but I nominate Catarratto as a worthy successor to the "Most Popular Italian White Wine in America" category. Aromatic and flavorful, Maggiovini Rasula Catarratto 2014 ($15) has summery tropical flavors with a hint of clementine that are balanced by a crisp minerality. Great as a refreshing apéritif, Catarratto is also substantial enough to pair with roasted vegetables, grilled fish, and mild cheeses.
Red wine with seafood? Absolutely, when the red wine is as elegant as Maggiovini Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2013. It paired beautifully with this flavorful dish of spaghetti with clams and scallops at Ristorante Rafele in NYC.
Considered the pearl of Sicilian wines, Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a blend of two indigenous grapes (Frappato and Nero d'Avola) and the region's only DOCG - Italy's highest level of classification for wine. Maggiovini Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG 2013 ($20) is a graceful wine with luscious flavors of cherry, violet, cassis, and blackberry. With delicate tannins, Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a red wine that pairs elegantly with fish.
Sicily's most famous varietal, Massimo said as a little boy he remembers that Nero d'Avola was always in the land and on the table. If you share my passion for bold red wines, Nero d'Avola is a sip you will savor. Maggiovini Vigna di Pettineo Nero d'Avola 2013 ($20) has impressive depth for a red wine that has not been aged in oak. Big and balanced with velvety tannins that aren't too aggressive, this vino has flavors of ripe plum, forest, and spice with velvety tannins.