Leave the Gun.
Take the Cannoli.
Sicily is the island at the tip of the toe of Italy’s “boot.” It is the biggest island in the Mediterranean, and Italy’s biggest wine-producing region, with over 325,000 acres under vine. However, much of this fruit is distilled into spirits, especially grappa.
The Cusumano Winery is located in Partinico, in Sicily’s far northwestern corner. Relatively new, the winery was established in 2001 when brothers Alberto and Diego took over the management of the company from their father, Francesco. With the help of an intimate knowledge of the Sicilian terrain and consulting winemaker Mario Ronco, the Cusumano brothers today own over 400 hectares (nearly 1,000 acres) of vineyards, and include three separate estates:
Ficuzza, at nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, has 467 acres planted 70 percent to white grape varieties, including the white grape Insolia.
The 346-acre San Giacomo estate is noted for the white color of the “trubi,” the mineral-rich soils that combine lime, clay, and sand. Reds dominate here, with the Sicilian classic Nero d’Avola a key player.
Presi e Pegni is the smallest of the estates at 173 acres. Among the grapes grown here are Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
Cusumano’s wines are all estate grown and harvested by hand, and are crafted in the ‘new’ Sicilian style that is typified by varietal expression and rich flavors.
Since 2013, Cusumano has been a part of the Terlato Wines empire. “We’re proud to welcome a family-owned Sicilian brand into our portfolio,” Chief Executive Officer William A. Terlato said. “Our own family heritage is Sicilian, so this is an opportunity to reconnect with that legacy.”
The stated philosophy behind Cusumano has been to emphasize the importance of terroir knowledge, invest in innovative technology, and nurture a passion for winemaking.
As a unique touch, in the Sicilian tradition these wines are not sealed with a cork, but rather with a clear-glass stopper.
Cusumano Insolia 2014
100% Insolia, this golden-hued wine hails from Ficuzza, Cusumano’s largest vineyard. The aroma features pineapple, citrus peel, and soft floral accents.
Flavors of pears and tart apples and are evident on the palate. It is mildly acidic with a medium body and a decent, if short, finish. If you like Vinho Verde, Sauvignon Blanc, or citrus-forward Chardonnays, you’ll enjoy this, I think.
Try this summer sipper with Risotto with Spring Vegetables, Tomato, and Basil;Pan-Roasted Mackerel with Rosemary and Garlic; or Fricasseed Chicken with Egg and Lemon.
Cusumano Nero D’Avola 2014
Nero D’Avola (also called Calabrese) is Sicily’s most widely-planted red grape. This one is garnet in the glass, with a nose of red and black raspberries. The taste is fruit-forward (rather unusual for an old-world wine), with medium tannins, a hint of cocoa and earth, and plummy spice flavors.
Enjoy this red with Pan-Fried Beef Braciole Filled with Cheese and Ham; Meatballs and Tomatoes; or Drunk Roast Pork.
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