The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicilia’s One and Done

Posted on | April 11, 2013 | Written by IWM Staff | No Comments

Image from Wikipedia

A bunch of Nero d’Avola. Image from Wikipedia

Sicilia’s Cerasuolo di Vittoria may be the region’s one and only DOCG wine, but it has a venerable history. Named for its color–“cerasuolo” means “cherry” in ancient Italian–and its township, Vittoria, this wine officially dates to 1606 when the town’s founder Vittoria Colonna gave colonists one acre of land for their own use, providing that they cultivate a second acre with grapes. However, markings on amphorae discovered in Pompeii suggest that this Sicilian red wine was enjoyed for many centuries previous to Vittoria Colonna’s mandate.

While similar in name with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo, which is the Rosé made from Abruzzo’s Montepuliciano grape, Sicilia’s Cerasuolo di Vittoria is its own creation; the two wines only share the “cherry.” Comprised entirely of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, two grapes indigenous, Cerasuolo di Vittoria’s DOCG region spans several municipalities in three provinces in southwest Sicilia. Here, below the sandy soil lies a layer of Tufa stone that helps to retain the water necessary to ripen the grapes in this arid, almost desert-like, climate. In many ways, the micro-climate of this DOCG is tailor-made for the slow-ripening Nero d’Avola, which is so prone to rot that it doesn’t grow anywhere else in Italy.

Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG must be aged for a minimum of eight months; Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico must be aged for at least eighteen. This wine is a sprightly medium-bodied cherry-red wine with purple or pink highlights. With a pleasing fruity quality of red berries, strawberries, cherries and figs, underlain by notes of ginger, leather and tobacco, Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a wine meant to be enjoyed relatively young, though it can happily age for 5-10 years in good years.  Cerasuolo di Vittoria achieved DOC status in 1974 and was elevated to DOCG in 2005.

IWM’s favorite Cerasuolo di Vittoria comes from COS, and it’s a delicious wine with great aromatics, a palate marked by candied fruit and spice, and a long-lasting finish. It’s a perfect summer Red.

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