Stemmari Wines bring a bit of Sicily into your wine glass. Stemmari is dedicated to sustainable winemaking. The brand represents the art of Sicilian living; celebrating the island’s culture of hospitality, deletable cuisine, and its deep respect for nature. Stemmari’s portfolio of wines is well-rounded with varietals like, Nero d’Avola, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Moscato.
Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D. is winemaker for Stemmari, and one of the foremost experts of Nero d’Avola, the signature grape of Sicily. Stemmari makes four unique expressions of the Nero d’Avola grape. I had the opportunity to taste these four wines with Lucio in New York City. Each wine represents the unique terroir and style of this noble varietal of Sicily.
Lucio is extremely passionate and animated when it comes to his wines. His passion fills the room and you are left wanting to listen to more and more of what he has to say. Lucio says you can feel and smell the soils in his wines, “Without good soil you cannot make authentic wines.” With Sicily’s explosive volcano, there are rocks, soils and minerals throughout the island that are ideal for winemaking.
Nero d’Avola presents different expressions throughout the island of Sicily because of its incredible geological diversity. Depending on where you plant on the island, you will get different styles. Lucio says Nero d’Avola is like humans, having many personalities, it can be optimistic, pessimistic, can be weak, or can be strong. It is a variety with many expressions and many faces.
Nero d’Avola is a very important native varietal in Sicily. Initially found in Siracusa, it is now found in all of the wine-making areas of the island.
The grapes are cultivated on sandy soils in the Ragusa province. It is a beautiful rosé that has substance. The acidity in the wine is lively, bright and fresh. 100% Nero d’Avola, the wine has a touch of spiciness with floral notes. Notes of white strawberries and peach fill the palate. This elegant rosé will pair perfectly with food. It is a brilliant wine for $10 and it is a fantastic value.
This wine is true and authentic in style, seeking to showcase the fruit and freshness of Nero d’Avola. The grapes are grown in Sambuca di Sicilia, in the province of Agrigento, where mature and structured Nero d’Avola is obtained.
This wine has a beautiful freshness and elegance with its bright fruit and light palate. There is a bit of a savory component that is nicely integrated with a bit of spice. Modern canopy management in the vineyards and early picking, allows for the freshness in the wine. Again for $10, this is a beautiful wine. This wine will pair perfectly with charcuterie or salmon.
The Cantodoro is taking Nero d’Avola, a native Sicilian grape variety and adding a bit of International flair with Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is a blend of 80% Nero d’Avola and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet adds muscle, body, and tannins. Adding the Cabernet Sauvignon rounds out the wine and gives it structure. This is a wine for Cabernet lovers that want to try Nero d’Avola.
Paying homage to the ancient Greek god of wine, Dionysus, the wine is named for the hedonist festivities performed in his honor. The label depicts the debauched and mythological wedding celebration of the deity and his new bride Ariadne, the immortal princess of Crete. Reveling in the pleasures of life and the union, the couple is surrounded by Satyrs and Mainades – female followers of Dionysus. The wine celebrates the mythological history by using Nero d’Avola, which is the single most important grape on the island and covers an estimated 50,000 acres. The Hedonis Riserva indulges the senses with its powerful aromatics and sensual and textural palate in honor of the Dionysian tradition.
The vineyards selected for this wine are Sambuca B21 and B30, in west-east orientation. The exposure totally to the East favours direct irradiation from the first light of the morning, immediately after the coldest moment of the day, causing a sort of limited temperature range directly on clusters and leaves.
The newly released Hedonis Riserva 2015 drinks like an Amarone. Lucio has experimented with the appassimento method for this wine. It indulges the palate, captures the senses and warms the heart with its powerful and sensual character.
The resulting aromatic profile of Hedonis is a bountiful and deeply complex expression with hints of dried red fruits, anise and sweet spices, notes of almond, vanilla and tobacco resulting from aging in wood. There is a profound structure on the palate along with a velvety and juicy attack, finishing with soft and sweet tannins. And incredibly powerful wine that will leave you wanting for more.