$23 Nero D’Avola, Albert Camus & Happiness
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me, there lay, an invincible summer. And, that makes me happy.”-Albert Camus
A new decade has dawned and we roll into the 20s bleary-eyed and seasonally battered from the recent Holiday. This is my least favorite time of year. My Vitamin-D levels are as depleted as my bank account, and the warmth of family gatherings has been replaced by the lonely cold minutia of American working life.
During this time of year, I often find happiness in wine’s bottled sunlight. It’s wine that reminds me that pitchers and catchers report in 6 weeks, and if the NFL playoffs come, “can Spring be far behind?”
I love Mediterranean island wines this time of year. As I swirl the wine in my glass, I think of the shimmering sun reflecting off of turquoise water and wind blowing through golden hued country sides. These thoughts warm me and make me happy.
I had been searching for another Sicilian producer to work with over the past several months. There’s a menagerie of serviceable yet innocuous bottles of both red and white Sicilian wine. I was looking for something that expressed more than just sun-kissed fruit, I was looking for something with a “somewhereness” (Thank you, Matt Kramer). I found the wines I was looking for in Feudo Montoni.
Feudo Montoni is located more than 50 miles southeast of Palermo within the heart-land of the Island. Along with grape cultivation, the area is synonymous for wheat production. During antiquity the region was known as the “granary of the Roman Empire.”
Feudo Montoni’s geographic positioning is unique to the island and lends a strong and unique character to the wines produced on the estate. The property sits at rather high elevation (500-700 meters above sea level), and the wines in the glass reflect a warm influence, rather than a scorched or baked note present in many other wines from Sicily. Fuedo Montoni’s wines also taste clean and unmanipulated. The estate is certified organic, and cultivates both wheat and olives on the property as well as grapes.
Tonight I’m opening a bottle of Feudo Montoni Nero D’Avola “Lagnusa” 2017. In the glass, the wine displays loads of ripe cherry into black cherry, “squishy plum,” warm earthenware, hints of spice and black pepper on the finish wrap up what is a silken and sumptuous example of Nero D’Avola. It’s a joy to drink while my sausage and peppers simmer on the stove, and in the recesses of my imagination its summer in the “hinterlands” of Sicily. This makes me happy.