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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > ITALY: Sicily & Sardinia - Red

Winner Details

Italy: Sicily & Sardinia - Red

2019 GOLD: 9 SILVER: 5 BRONZE: 7 COMMENDED: 18
2018 GOLD: 3 SILVER: 10 BRONZE: 10 COMMENDED: 20

Blimey, we got a big entry here. Huge. Probably not unconnected to the fact that as Italy’s prices head northwards with the relentlessness of a banker’s bonus, this is one of the few parts of the country capable of producing wines at prices that most venues can still actually afford.

And they are able to do it, too. We saw a record number of Gold medals here this year, nicely stretched from pub level all the way up to Michelin-star, from juicy Nero d’Avolas to spicy Cannonaus and volcanic Etna Rossos.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that our teams had to work pretty hard to get there. There’s still a lot of crap wine in Italy’s islands, and weeding it out was a tough afternoon’s work for our teams. It explains why some of the feedback (below) is more negative than you might expect, given the high medal count.

In short, pick with care. Or do yourself a favour and use these results. Your palate will thank you for it.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Overall quite disappointing, and I’m a quarter Sicilian! Outside of working in the trade, customers only know Sicily in terms of Nero d’Avola.’ Michael Fiducia, The Royal Automobile Club

‘I really enjoyed the flight. Very clean winemaking at the entry level, delivering good value. Very level in the mid-range especially from Sicily, where they really showcase an alternative to French Pinot Noirs. At the top end they were really good, but the prices were a bit off the scale.’ Mattia Mazzi, The River Cafe

‘A bit disappointing. There were some nice examples, but most were funky, unclean.’ Adam Michocki, The Glasshouse

‘Nero d’Avolas are pizza wines. I haven’t seen a lot of wines that for me would venture out of the classic Mediterranean dining category, and these didn’t promise to get them there soon – unlike Nerello Mascalese for example.’ Jan Konetzki, team leader

‘I was expecting more really well-priced, easy-drinking, quality reds. Some tried too hard: over-extracted. A real mixed bag.’ Charlie Young, team leader

‘The prices at the top end don’t stand up in the international market.’ Tobias Gorn, Boisdale Restaurants

‘Nero d’Avola is similar style to Beaujolais but a bit more muscular. Easy-drinking summer wines, though at the more expensive end you get that spice, earth, charcuterie flavours. The value was below £7 and over £20.’ Emanuel Pesqueira, consultant 

Award winners

Found 39 wines

Italy: South – Red Sicily & Sardinia

The Wine People, Frederico Collezione, Rosso Nero d'Avola Appassimento 2017, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

‘Rich and comforting, like a hug’ was Quentin Loisel of Restaurant Sat Bains’ first impression of this Gold-worthy Nero d’Avola, finding notes of ‘chocolate and hazelnut paste, with lovely spices and some cherry jam – a ripe and chewy wine’. A similarly impressed Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant found it to be ‘very easy to drink’, adding praise for ‘lots of juicy fruit balanced with refreshing acidity, some mixed herbs and spices, and smooth tannins’.

£6.50 Frederic Robinson

Colomba Bianca, Vitese, Nero d'Avola 2018, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

This fascinating wine, described by Hakkasan’s Olivier Gasselin as ‘leafy and ferrous, with forest fruit, some spice, and an earthiness too, with rounded, crunchy tannins’, took home a well-deserved Gold. Quentin Loisel of Restaurant Sat Bains complimented its ‘velvety texture and bright acidity, and baking spices too, like a red-fruit pie’, while team leader Jan Konetzki felt its ‘rich palate of prune and leather’ made it the ideal match for ‘roasted lamb with Mediterranean herbs’.

£7.55 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Fondo Antico, Per Te, Perricone 2016, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

This earned its Gold medal for its ‘interesting and different style’, according to team leader Martin Lam, who described ‘violet notes and some light tannins’. Rockliffe Hall’s Daniel Jonberger appreciated notes of ‘plum and cherry, with a hint of oak’, while team leader Lionel Periner praised its ‘notes of black olive combined with good fruit character’, which led to ‘a full palate, with dark fruit flavours, and a fresh, mineral finish’.

£10.25 Bibendum

Tornatore, Pietrarizzo, Etna Rosso 2016, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

Judges didn’t hold back in their praise of this Gold medallist, with Pavilion Wine’s Tomasz Kuszneruk enjoying ‘a mix of dried and fresh cherries, with a touch of Provençal herbs and chocolate’, while Rockliffe Hall’s Daniel Jonberger spoke highly of its ‘touches of mint, and a savoury character with some oaky tobacco’. Team leader Lionel Periner, meanwhile, was impressed by its ‘floral aromas, leading to a refreshing palate with berry fruit and more floral notes’.

£17.35 Bibendum

Tornatore, Trimarchisa, Etna Rosso 2016, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

Team leader Lionel Periner had praise for this Gold Lister’s ‘great tannic structure, with dry floral notes, and some berry flavours too’, while an impressed Mattia Mazzi of The River Cafe described ‘strawberries and smoke on an open and appealing nose, leading to a meaty and savoury palate with more strawberry fruit, and great concentration, not to mention some striking acidity’. ‘Perfumed, mineral and elegant, with some great complexity,’ summarised Hakkasan Mayfair’s Immacolata Cannavo.

£27.39 Bibendum

Cusumano, Tenuta San Giacomo, Sàgana 2016, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

Heesoo Kang of Flat Three Restaurant admired ‘lovely toast and vanilla notes, and spice mingled with dark cherry and plum notes’, on encountering this clear Gold winner, going on to speak of its ‘good balance between body and fruit character’. Team leader Jan Konetzki, meanwhile, was impressed with its ‘complex Mediterranean nose, and savoury, meaty, leather notes’, while The Cross Kenilworth, Simpsons & Edgbaston’s Giuseppe Longobardi appreciated its ‘black cherry and eucalyptus notes, with some good tannins, too’.

£22.15 Eurowines

Torre Mora, Scalunera, Etna Rosso 2015, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

As it took its rightful place on the Gold podium, team leader Tom Forrest praised this ‘perfumed wine’, before going on to describe ‘red flowers and fruits, like cherries and berries, along with some leafy mintiness as well as some spice’. More praise came from Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group, who found ‘graphite and cedar notes, as well as some chocolate’, which led to ‘a lovely finish, with some crunchy, dark fruits’.

£14.75 Matthew Clark

Santadi, Noras, Cannonau di Sardegna 2015, Sardinia, Italy

Gold medal winner

Team leader Lionel Periner had only good things to say about this Gold Lister’s savoury nose of ‘Mediterranean herbs and tomato stew, with red fruits, too’, going on to describe ‘a full-bodied palate with some bramble notes and a touch of smokiness’. The Glasshouse’s Adam Michocki enjoyed notes of ‘wild strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and red cherries, with an earthy, leathery character, too, and firm tannins balanced by refreshing acidity’.

£7.21 Enotria&Coe

Santa Maria La Nave, Calmarossa, Etna Rosso 2015, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

‘So aromatic and elegant,’ began impressed team leader Laurent Richet MS on discovering this clear candidate for Gold, going on to describe ‘complex cherry, cedar, dried meat and liquorice – dynamic and vibrant, with a silky texture’. Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group, meanwhile, enjoyed its ‘eucalyptus aromas, with ripe cherry and strawberry on the palate, leading to a charcoal finish’, while team leader Lionel Periner thought it ‘floral and smoky, with good acidity on a long finish’.

£32.22 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Siddùra, Tìros, Colli del Limbara 2014, Sardinia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Toasted and complex on the nose, with some vanilla notes,’ began Sean Arthur of Cliveden House, who went on to describe ‘brilliant structure, with very well-balanced acidity and tannins – a rich and well-made wine’.

£27.60 Mondial Wine

Argiolas, Korem, Bovale, Isola dei Nuraghi 2015, Sardinia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Black cherry, black plum and bramble fruit, along with pine, mint and eucalyptus character,’ began The Glasshouse’s Adam Michocki, going on to describe ‘good balance on the palate, with significant oak, and a good, spicy texture’.

£19.75 Eurowines

Feudo Arancio, Syrah 2017, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

Daniel Jonberger of Rockliffe Hall described aromas of ‘dark fruit and hibiscus’, going on to find ‘a fruit-driven palate, with medium tannins’, which team leader Martin Lam summarised as ‘more winter than summer – a wholesome red with no pretensions’.

£7.00 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Feudo Arancio, Rosso Riserva 2015, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Violets and roses, leading to good balance on the palate,’ was consultant Emanuel Pesqueira’s first impression, while team leader Jan Konetzki identified ‘floral notes, along with dark, ripe fruit, leading to some acidity on the dry palate’.

£10.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Pietradolce, Contrada Rampante, Etna Rosso 2016, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

Terry Kandylis of 67 Pall Mall spoke of ‘a charming nose, with floral elements like cherry blossoms’, while team leader Charlie Young described ‘spice, oak and fruit aromas, leading to lots of tannin and acidity’, but thought that ‘it flows extremely well, and the finish really demonstrates the quality of the fruit’.

£21.07 Armit

Argiolas, Senes, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2014, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘An intense nose of macerated cherries and blackberries, along with some liquorice, leading to a full and warm palate, with bittersweet black cherries, and some long, woody tannins to finish,’ said Mattia Mazzi of The River Cafe.

£17.95 Eurowines

Feudo Arancio, Nero d'Avola 2017, Sicily, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Fragrant and perfumed, with herbal notes and some dark fruit – a modern wine, with good precision,’ thought Olivier Gasselin of Hakkasan.

£6.80 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Pietradolce, Archineri, Etna Rosso 2016, Sicily, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Red fruit, with a touch of plum, too, leading to a savoury palate with soft tannins, and some smokiness,’ thought Pavilion Wine’s Tomasz Kuszneruk.

£21.07 Armit

Pietradolce, Contrada Santo Spirito, Etna Rosso 2016, Sicily, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Light red berry fruit and fresh flowers lead to sour cherry notes on a palate that’s dry and elegant, with good balance and some nice acidity,’ said team leader Lionel Periner.

£21.07 Armit

Santadi, Rocca Rubia, Carignano del Sulcis Riserva 2015, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Intense dark fruit, with pencil and oak notes, leading to a full-bodied palate with a lot of extraction, and dry coffee bean notes on the finish,’ said team leader Lionel Periner.

£16.06 Enotria&Coe

Terrazze dell'Etna, Carusu Etna Rosso 2015, Sicily, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘A slightly smoky and earthy nose with savoury undertones, leading to a palate that has a sweet core of fruit – a refreshing wine with real character,’ said 67 Pall Mall’s Terry Kandylis.

£16.02 Liberty Wines

Vigneti Zabù, Il Passo, Nerello Mascalese 2017, Sicily, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Manor House Hotel’s Anita Vighova described a ‘delicate nose and a soft, mid-weight palate, with redcurrants on the finish and a cherry chocolate aftertaste’.

£10.22 Liberty Wines

Feudo Arancio, Passiari 2016, Sicily , Italy

Commended medal winner

Siddùra, Èrema, Cannonau di Sardegna 2016, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£13.45 Mondial Wine

Siddùra, Fòla, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2016, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£18.60 Mondial Wine

Siddùra, Bàcco, Isola dei Nuraghi, Cagnulari 2015, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£19.55 Mondial Wine

Argiolas, Is Solinas, Carignano del Sulcis Riserva 2015, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£17.35 Eurowines

Argiolas, Turriga Isola dei Nuraghi 2014, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£39.60 Eurowines

Nicosia, Frappato Bio [Organic] 2017, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£8.50 Boutinot

Cantina del Vermentino, Isola's Cannonau di Sardegna 2017, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£8.55 Boutinot

Sella & Mosca, Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2016, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£12.08 Alivini

Canicattì, Diodoros, Rosso 2015, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£16.35 CVA Canicatti

Planeta, Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2016, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£11.95 Enotria&Coe

Alessandro di Camporeale, Kaid Syrah 2015, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.20 Alivini

Donnafugata, Sul Vulcano, Etna Rosso Nerello Mascalese 2016, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£21.37 Liberty Wines

Tasca d'Almerita, Il Tascante, Nerello Mascalese 2014, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

Agripunica, Montessu 2016, Sardinia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£16.00 Armit

Canicattì, La Ferla, Nero d'Avola 2017, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£6.90 VinumTerra

Canicattì, Centuno, Nero d'Avola 2016, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£9.49 VinumTerra

Torre Mora, Cauru, Etna Rosso 2016, Sicily, Italy

Commended medal winner

£11.56 Matthew Clark

 

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