Spy Wine Notes: Piazza Italian Market Visits Sicily

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Easton’s Piazza Italian Market took a full “tasting room” of guests to Sicily in their second Saturday evening tasting at their new location in the Talbottowne Shopping Center. When one learns about the wines and the region from which they come, you must appreciate what Piazza is bringing to us in Talbot County. The evening provided a unique opportunity for the tasters to experience fine wines along with the wonderful food that accompanied the wines…and, both flowed in generous portions.

Emily Chandler, and her colleague Jennifer Martella

Piazza’s owner, Emily Chandler, and her colleague Jennifer Martella shared the history of the three Sicilian selections for the evening. Announcing she was breaking her own rules, Emily explained that the evening would forgo a single white wine and focus only on three delicious red wines. The fine offerings were met with approval by one and all as were the insights and stories about the wine makers and the grapes from Sicily.

Sicily is the southern-most region of Italy and is the largest island in the Mederterranian. Remarkably, the island has been the site of wine making for more than 2,500 years. Still, grapes from the region are new to many in the United States.

The frappato grapes provided the first tasting experience as guests were seated. Arianna Occhipinti’s Il Frappato was a bit on the lighter side, but complex with a long finish. Emily shared that the winemaker, a young woman about her own age, is creating a good deal of excitement with her wines.

Here is a description from the Wine Spectator: The Frappato grape is native to the Vittoria area, characterized by small berries and thick skins. It’s known for freshness and elegance and, other than the 2005, which was showing some dryness on the finish, all the wines revealed vibrant structures and a mix of cherry, floral, spice and mineral flavors. Eighty-five percent of Occhipinti’s 25 acres of vines are 50 years old, the remainder young vine

The second offering was Centonze’s Nero d’Avola. The grape is said to be the most widely grown in the region. It provided darker, bolder contrast to the Frappato. Here is a description of the contrast from a review in Vinous: Dark ruby-red; this wine, made with Nero d’Avola, is much darker than Centoze’s Frappato, as it should be, as the latter cannot give very dark or inky colored wines. Very ripe on the nose and in the mouth, but with still lively aromas and flavors of red and black cherry fruit complicated by tobacco, violet and sweet spice notes. Obviously super-ripe fruit was picked here, but the wine is surprisingly light on its feet.
Finally, the tasting trio was finished with a glass of Terre Nere’s Etna Rosso. As the winery describes this offering: Made from very fine Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio from low yielding vineyards (35 Hl. Per hectar), both young and old. The grapes are macerated until the end of fermentation. The wine then continues its life in wood until bottled roughly one year after harvest.

 

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