Among the many really good food wines that appear in our local retailers those from Italy generally receive short shift outside of a multitude of bottles from Tuscany to the north. That is our loss, which we discover when by chance a bottle from Italy’s Southern falls into our hands and pours into our glass. One example is the Sedara Rosso by Donnafugata a fresh tasting red wine based on the Nero d’Avola grape, with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from the Sicilia DOC.
From the screw cap closure to using stainless steel and cement tanks for aging fresh and food friendly is the approach taken by the winemaker. The color in the glass is a ruby tint when viewed through bright sunlight, pretty to look at for a moment, though not to tarry over. I would suggest a letting a little air into the glass to reduce a bit of the rough edge that hit my nose up front when poured straight from the bottle. After that a pleasant bouquet of strawberry with cherry and floral highlights left me with a strange need to repeatedly “dip my beak” in the glass. The initial flavor profile follows the path laid out by the aroma, not bad, but not a stand up and shout experience either. However, after the initial red fruits the taste took a turn from fresh and lively to dark and “dirty” with a sensation of gravel and clove spice that moved into a zingy acidity before a cherry aftertaste finish. Oddly I found the more air let into the wine the more prominent the cherry became in the close.
While an alright choice on its own food really brought the Sedara Rosso into its element and helped earn it a place in our wine rack. Given the fairly light weight in the mouth avoid heavy red meats, my typical NY Strip steak and baked potato dinner overwhelmed the lighter, even texture of the wine. On the other hand lasagna or pasta with a red sauce and some seafood, mussels being a current favorite of mine, would be two pairings with the food and the wine benefiting each other. Another recommendation from the winemaker’s website would be a tuna steak, my suggestion would be to combine the tuna with a medley of fresh lightly cooked vegetables and an after dinner cheese plate; the result would be a very memorable experience for you and your guests.
Unless they focus on Italian wines finding a Nero d’Avola wine in the grocery aisle could prove a bit challenging in our area, though based on the video I assume Whole Foods Market has it on their shelves. The Sedara Rosso is imported by Folio Wine Partners whose line is well represented in select retailers around Southwest Florida so you may be able to special order from your favorite wine store. If not, I found it more widely available in areas “up north” so if you are visiting family or they are visiting you it may be worthwhile to procure a few bottles for the lanai dining season. Bottom line this not a big tasting beverage that requires a lot of pondering and savoring to extract its hidden pleasures. It is an approachable wine for food, friends and the great outdoors and like other wines from Southern Italy a worthy pickup from time to time.