Cusumano Nero d'Avola 2011
About the Region
One of the oldest wine regions in Europe, Sicily is known for a wide range of wines made in both traditional and modern styles. The island's most famous wine is marsala, a soft but full-flavored fortified wine — dry, sweet, or in-between — made from grillo and other local white varieties, or in some forms from Sicilian red grapes. A lesser-known sweet wine is zibibbo, made from the varietal of the same name (a muscat relative), with the grapes partially fermented in the sun; unlike marsala, it is not fortified. Until the latter part of the 20th century, most Sicilian table wines were overripe and fairly simple, but in recent decades, the local wine industry has modernized and vastly improved. The traditional white wine varieties, which tend to produce floral, spicy wines, include grillo, carricante, catarratto bianco, and grecanico. The most prominent red wine variety is nero d'Avola, which yields full-bodied, tannic, well-structured wines sometimes compared to syrahs, and there is some primitivo, as well as such Sicilian cultivars as perricone and nerello mascalese. Cabernet sauvignon has become popular in recent years, often blended with local grapes, thanks to the efforts of producers like Donnafugata, Planeta, Regaleali, and Corvo. Moscato di Pantelleria, made on the Sicilian small island of that name, about 50 miles off the coast of Tunisia, from muscat of Alexandria grapes, has something of a cult following.