"The Portellis have mastered the maceration and extraction to get the most out of their grapes. Their wines are loaded with charm and luscious fruit while possessing plenty of structure on the backend. They grow two varieties: Frappato and Nero d'Avola, the latter known locally as Calabrese. Calabrese shows much more elegance here in the soils of Vittoria than it does in other areas of Sicily, where it tends to earn its keep as a wine of brawn and power. The Portellis are crafting Calabrese with elegance and refinement, country charm wrapped in suede. Their Frappato, while the most fruit forward wine they make, is no simple quaffer!


Calabrese is the local name for Nero d'Avola in the Vittoria region of southern Sicily, but the vine does not originate from Calabria, and its clusters do not look like spicy sausages (a hypothesis I drew up while hungry). The name is, in fact, an Italianization of the old Sicilian calea (grape) and aulisi (from Avola). Calabrese has made a second home for itself in the arid hills around Vittoria, displaying more graceful traits relative to the dense, tannic wines it produces closer to Avola. Portelli's version features ravishing flavors of black cherry leading to supple, gentle tannins. Try it with Calabrese sausage for a deliciously redundant pairing."

2015 Portelli, Calabrese, Sicily