Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cusumano Benuara

2006, Cusumano Nero d'Avola/Syrah "Benuara" Sicilia ($14)

This young (first crop was in 2000) but totally energized winery is headed by two brothers, Alberto and Diego Cusumano. They have quickly climbed the awards and wine industry respect ladder. With wines like this one it is easy to see why.

The Benuara (little red flower pictured on the label) is a blend of about 65% Nero d'Avola and 35% Syrah, grown primarily in the Pachino zone of southeast Sicilia. A small amount of the wine is aged in barrel. The vines are on the young side (7-10 years old), but show great elegance and freshness. This wine is surprisingly soft and juicy with good balance of acidity and deep, young berry fruit flavors. There is a hint of smoky spice on the nose, but just a bit fruit blast on the palate. Very serious wine for the money. Some grip on the back-palate, but a long, mid-intensity finish. This would work quite well with summer grilled dishes - tuna steak, ribs or burgers. Very tasty value.

The other cool thing about this wine is that the bottle is sealed with a VINOLOCK. This is a glass stopper instead of a traditional cork or screwcap. This is an avenue that a number of Italian (and Austrian) producers are employing. It seems to offer a bit "classier" closer than the SCREW-cap, and even though it is quite expensive, producers like Cusumano feel that the investment is well worth the added consumer impression.

THE SKINNY on Cusumano Benuara:
  • Youthful, juicy and ripe fruit flavors
  • Great for summer foods - especially just off the grill
  • Easy price
  • Casual-Chic with Vinolock - you'll be the hit of the party when you bring this wine

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