Wines of Sicily
We are indeed lucky have access to the products of this winery and we are the sole importers into Ireland. For over 25 years Milazzo wines have been winning prestigious awards on the international stage. This wine is one of them. Nero d’Avola is one of the most important indigenous grape varieties in Italy and does well in hot, dry climates. It is no surprise, therefore, that it thrives in Sicily where it is arguably the best-known native variety. The Maria Costanza Red from this organic wine-making family is made 100% from this grape and has been a multiple award winner over the years including a gold medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Aged for around 36 months in barriques of different woods and also in stainless steel vats, it receives a minimum of 6 months of final maturation in bottle. With an intense dark red colour there are notes of red fruit, blackberries, cherries and spices. At 14% alcohol it is a powerful, full-bodied wine with great structure, soft, silky tannins and a long finish. It will go well with pasta, lamb or other meat dishes as well as cheeses and will age for 5-10 years.
As well as a delicious red, there is an equally delicious and unusual white Maria Costanza. The predominant grape is Inzolia, an Italian grape planted primarily in Sicily but a small amount of which is also grown in Tuscany where it is known as Ansonica. Inzolia is also used to make Marsala, the Sicilian fortified wine. For the white Maria Costanza, Inzolia is combined with selected Chardonnay, a blend pioneered by Milazzo in Sicily. The grapes are harvested, gently pressed and the juice is refrigerated. It has a natural cold clarification for 12-24 hours. The must is then fermented at controlled temperature with specially selected yeasts. Fermentation is carried out 90% in stainless steel vats but a small portion is fermented in smaller oak barrels adding complexity. This is further enhanced by allowing the wine to rest on the lees for about 6 months. During this time, it is subjected to bâtonnage, or agitation, to promote further exposure of the wine to the sediment. Final maturation is in bottle for about 2 months before release. The result is a wine of a beautiful yellow colour with aromas of lemon, pineapple and peaches. Its fine structure, its wonderful full and mouth-cleansing body and its lingering finish ensured that this Maria Costanza wine would win international awards. That started in 1994 and hasn’t stopped since with the latest being a Gold at the Challenge International du Vin in 2019.
Another Nero d’Avola based wine made but this one is combined with a number of other red varieties. The Milazzo winery keeps experimental fields for a number of grapes and these have been used to create Fancello. The selection may change from year to year and may include international varieties or local Sicilian grapes such as Perricone or Nero Cappuccino. The changing blend making this wine a fascinating moving target for the palate. For this wine, the grapes undergo a cold soak for 24-48 hours. The must is then pumped over the skins for about a week to extract maximum colour and flavours. When fermentation is complete the wine rests for 12 months in stainless steel vats and final maturation is in bottle before release. A deep ruby red with hints of violet it has aromas of cherry, plum and spice. Smooth and rich on the palate, at 14% alcohol it is full-bodied, intense, and well-balanced with a beautiful finish. Excellent with red meat, poultry, cheese or why not try with some typical Sicilian dishes you could prepare yourself such as pasta alla norma or arancini.
Terre della Baronia is a 5 square kilometer area in the Milazzo vineyards about 400 metres above sea level. It has a unique and characteristic mixture of soils. In some areas, the clay is dark with a high organic content while elsewhere the soil is quite chalky. The vine growers say the clay has constant fertility while the chalky areas ensure rich and complex aromas. Vines have been chosen to optimally harness these unique soil types resulting in very aromatic grapes. Nero d’Avola is here combined with Perricone. The latter is grown widely in Sicily and may be combined, as in this case, with other red Italian grape varieties. The resulting wines are often deeply colored, full-bodied and high in alcohol. After cold soaking for 24-48 hours, the fermentation takes place over about 3 weeks with daily pumping over to extract colour and aromas. The wine then rests for 12 months partly in stainless steel and partly in oak, finally maturing in bottle. Dark red in color, there are aromas of blackberry, black cherry and licorice. It is full-bodied and fruity and has an excellent finish. Enjoy with beef, venison, duck and goose and, of course, cheese.
The Terre della Baronia vineyard is also planted with vines of the Catarratto grape, sometimes known as Cataratto Lucido. This white Italian wine grape is widely planted in Sicily. With its typical Mediterranean climate summers are temperate and the winters are gentle in the vineyard. The sea breezes favour optimal variations in temperatures between night and day. The east-facing part of the plateau of marl and calcareous clay ensures these vines thrive. Cataratto can make full bodied wines when used alone, as in this case. Elsewhere in Sicily, however, it may be blended with local grapes such as Carricante and Minella Bianca. Milazzo control temperature strictly during the fermentation of their wines. This is no exception. Following this, there is a balanced mix of aging for 4 months on the lees in stainless steel and then oak barriques, final development taking place in the bottle. At 13% alcohol the wine has a beautiful straw yellow color with aromas of white fruit, apple and pear. Full and balanced on the palate, it has a wonderful combination of fruit and acidity making it an ideal accompaniment to fish, chicken, turkey and other white meats.