It seems that there is more and more white noise in the world today and the wine world has not been spared. I’m impressed how the iconic wine labels of Bordeaux, California and even BC have been able to capitalize on the chatter and continue to drive prices up. Don’t get me wrong I love the great iconic wines of the world, however I don’t think that they provide true value to you and I in the everyday world. I have long since held this view and it has become the central principle in my work as the wine buyer for Liquor Plus; my enjoyment of a wine is significantly increased if I feel that the wine over delivered for the price. To that end I spend most of my days, weeks and travels seeking wines that over deliver for their price. I focus a lot of attention on wines that can be purchased for anywhere between $12 and $20. The next category I spend time against is $20 to $30. In both instances I have found the greatest joy as there are literally thousands and thousands of wines on the world market that over deliver for the price and most often these are not made by household names. This definately the case for the wine I am speaking about today – Cusora Rosso from Sicily, Italy.
First off Sicily for many years was the backwater of the Italian wine trade. Focus was on Chianti (Tuscany), Piedmonte and the Veneto regions (Amarone). Today it is rapidly growing in volume and profile, but still dwarfs that of the regions above and to me this makes Sicily prime for seeking new, high value wines.
Being a warm region means that the wines often are juicier and more powerful than their elegant, refined cousins to the north, but this juicier, more powerful nature is exactly what makes the wines of Sicily more attractive to North Americans. The wines of Sicily for the most part are closer in nature and characteristic to those of California, Australia and South America than they are to the wines of Tuscany, Piedmonte, Veneto, France or Spain.
Combine taste profile and price and you have the perfect combination for a great everyday wine that performs well above its pay grade. The Cusora Rosso is a blend of Syrah and Merlot and juicy, brimming with lots of ripe plum and black fruit flavours, while showcasing savoury spices like pepper, sage and rosemary. There is even a kiss of cinnamon on the finish.
Let this wine breathe for 30 minutes as right out of the bottle the wine will seem closed and tannic. In 30 minutes it will blossom into its full expression.
I would pair with anything that is simply seasoned and grilled including denser fish. A big plate of fresh tomato based pasta or a simple pizza of tomato sauce, fresh mushrooms, pepperoni and cheese would be wonderful with this wine. Of course, if you so choose, this wine avails itself to more complex culinary feats as well.
Bang for the Buck Score: 8.6/10