Tasty and Opulent Nero d’Avola

Today’s Story: Gulfi

Gulfi is a family owned and operated wine estate located in Chiaramonte Gulfi, and it was established by Raffaele Catania. Though Raffaele fled Sicily during the crisis following WWII and moved to France, he always desired to return to Chiaramonte Gulfi and even sent his savings there with the hope of purchasing property. In 1970, the Catania family moved back to Sicily and Raffaele devoted himself to winemaking which began during the 1980s following the first release of Gulfi’s Nerojbleo label. When Raffaele passed away in 1995, his son Vito had the important decision of leaving his career in the chemical sector (at his own company no less) or selling the family vineyards. Fortunately for Gulfi, Vito had a deep-rooted interest in wine from growing up in France and decided to take over the Gulfi winery.

Gulfi practices organic viticulture by not using any chemical fertilizers, insecticides, or pesticides and only uses manure and/or leguminous crops in the vineyard to enrich the soil. Meanwhile the hot and dry climate defends against insects and mold. Furthermore, Gulfi does not irrigate their vineyards which forces the vines to struggle and reach deeply for nutrients in turn producing higher quality and healthier fruit. Gulfi grows Nero d’Avola, Frappato, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante, and Albanello (all native varieties) and all are harvested manually.

Today’s Wine: 2016 NeroBufaleffj

100% Nero d’Avola; 14% ABV

The 2016 NeroBufaleffj is opaque medium purple/ruby in color. Given about an hour to open up, the nose showcases aromas of black cherry, black plum, prune, licorice, dried tobacco, charred loamy earth, cocoa powder, and light oaky spice. On the palate, this wine displays notes of spiced black plum, dark cherry cola, jammy blackberry, dried strawberry, anise, tobacco, dusty volcanic earth, dried green herbs, and a hint of oak. This is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) tannins, and a long finish dominated by syrupy black and blue fruits.

Price: Typically $40-45 (I paid $35). Very well-priced if you can find it around $35 like I did, but I think the more common $40-45 range puts this a little over the top to be called good value. Without a doubt a delicious wine though. Pair with grilled game, beef stew, or mature cheeses.

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