Regaleali used to be the lone Sicilian voice in the American wine market. Do you remember the Corvo brand, and especially the “Rosso Del Conte,” which was its best wine? Well, Tasca d’Almerita, the formal name of that company, has been making wines for over a century. But things are changing, and high-quality wines using indigenous grapes as single varietals are now causing quite a stir — especially with plantings at the foot of Mount Etna, Sicily’s active volcano! Case in point, today’s wine is made from the Nerello Mascalese grape. The short of it is: This grape is now being heralded as a sort of Sicilian Pinot Noir — if it’s vinified properly. Excitement grows, and today’s example shows unexpectedly light styling and enticing flavor. And, yes, more than a suggestion of Pinot Noir-ness!
2015 Tascante Ghiaia Nera (Black Gravel) Nerello Mascalese $20 srp*
In the glass, a translucent, candy apple red color. A refreshing nose of delicate yet penetrating fruit; mountain raspberry, light cherry with a whiff of pipe tobacco. It’s fleeting, ephemeral and intriguing. Flavors are light- to medium-bodied, tangy and charming, with elements of light red currant, strawberry and fresh herbs on the palate. The finish is delicate and harmonious with “sandy”-soft tannins. Complexity and persistence reigns — hard to believe this is a warm climate red. Drink now-2021. Fine value!
*The 2015 is just now coming into the market. Although not tried, 2014 was also a good year in the region, so the chances of success are pretty good.