92 Insider Points
"Palazzo Malgara has been an invino favorite since before my time. This is my first taste of the Nerello Mascalese, and I can see why we keep going back to the Sicilian enogolo. A light cran-cherry nose. Light-medium bodied with high acid, showcasing ripe cherry, black currant and raspberry on the front palate, leading into a flurry of red fruit through a lengthy finish. Ready to drink, this is an excellent food wine. " -92 Points - JZ Nov '18
We're going to go out on a limb here: you've never had a Nerello Mascalese. “Nair-rello mask-ah-lay-zay”: it's a a light-bodied red wine that primarily grows on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Better known to locals and those looking for the ideal, go-to wine for Tuesday wine downs or Friday night with friends.
Sicilians have been producing and enjoying wine since the beverage existed. And while there are now deluxe Sicilian wines, most of the island’s production centers around delicious, everyday drinkers made from Sicily’s local varieties. Among them, Nerello Mascalese is the best.
“The most interesting Sicilian reds are made primarily of nerello mascalese on Mount Etna,” writes the New York Times. Interesting in more ways than one. Nerello Mascalese not only survives on Mt. Etna’s arid, desolate landscape, active vineyards actually thrive just a few yards below the mouth of this active volcano. This Direct Import from our new friends at Palazzo Malgara is a prototypical Etna Nerello. Perfumed by violets and mountain-grown berries, this dry red is nearly tannin free. Mt Etna’s volcanic soil is a major factor in this wine’s purity and grace as well as its zingy, high-acid profile, which is just the ticket for spicy and rich food.
· The Wine Advocate rated the 2015 vintage in Sicily with 92 points or “Outstanding.”
· Palazzo Malgara is a relatively new winery, launched in 1990 by two well known Italian winemakers with a desire to delve deeply into southern Italy’s native varietals.
· The largest of the Mediterranean’s many beautiful islands, Sicily is also the largest wine region in Italy and is increasingly significant as a source for excellent, value-packed imports.
· Aromatic in the extreme, the Nerello Mascalese grape produces wines that are typically high in food-friendly acidity and low in tannins and exhibit gobs of wild strawberry notes on the nose and palate.
An easy drinking, juicy red with hints of spices. Medium bodied with earthy notes on the finish.
Cosimo Loia's estate is situated on the eastern slopes of the hills outside Montalcino. The entire property covers an area of approximately 15 hectares (37 acres) at an altitude of 310 meters (about 1,000 feet). Originally from Benevento (in Campania), Cosimo came to "Brunello land" when he married a woman from Montalcino. He fell in love with this part of Tuscany as well, and during the 1980s began to dedicate himself to wine. Palazzo's vineyards encompass 5 hectares (12 acres) and are located next to fine producers like Cerbaiona and Salvioni.
There have been major structural changes in the estate over the past few years: the arrival of consulting enologist Fabrizio Ciufoli has raised the quality level, and the production has also benefited from investment that included replacing most of the traditional casks with large Slavonian oak barrels, with a few barriques added for balance. This formula has given new life to the estate, which is now managed by Cosimo's daughter Elia.
Pair with a pasta dish with a rich tomato sauce and savory meatballs.