The Wine: U'Russu Nero d'Avola 2018
Gueli U'Russu Nero d'Avola 2018 is a red natural wine made from 100% organic Nero d'Avola grapes grown in Noto, Sicily, the best place for Nero d'Avola due to its limestone soil. U'Russu Nero d'Avola is made with native yeasts, unfiltered, unfined, no added sulfites.
The Producer: Gueli
The Gueli family cultivates and produces its grapes in the beautiful and generous countryside of Grotte, near Agrigento, not far from the Valley of the Temples.
Founded in 1986 by Vincenzo Gueli, the farm measures 10 hectares, divided into vineyards and almond orchards, at an altitude of between 450 and 550 meters above sea level. Today, his three sons, Giuseppe, Calogero, and Davide, contribute towards the development and management of the farm with ability and enthusiasm.
The decision of planting Nero d' Avola vines in different areas with different soil properties, has enabled us to obtain two different products that reflect the character of each area of growth. The vines grow in two different types of soil: "Trubi" commonly known as "Erbatini", which are pale in color, of a chalky consistency similar to talcum, not very stony, which helps maintain the soil cool during the hot seasons and are rich in various minerals, producing wines of a great structure and full-bodiedness. "Calcari" a limestone soil in the area of "Scintilia" fertile and stony, which confers to the wine, freshness, and drinkability.
The Region: Sicily
Sicily is Italy’s biggest island and also its biggest region. It’s separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina (Stretto di Messina). The capital of Sicily is Palermo, a majestically decadent multicultural city offering one of the richest culinary traditions in Italy.
Sicily’s history and culture are fascinating, to say the least. Their complexity is manifest in the diverse architecture of its cities. All over the region and particularly in Palermo we can find Arab, Greek, Roman, and Spanish influences in the layout of the city as well as in the food and local language.
Sicily is the third biggest producing country in Italy, behind Veneto and Tuscany. The quality of Sicilian wines has increased steadily in the past 30 years. Some international grape varietals - mainly chardonnay and syrah - have found a place in Sicilian viticulture, traditionally dominated by native varietals such as Nero d’Avola, Catarratto, Grillo, and Inzolia.
The Terroir of Sicily
Sicily proximity to Northern Africa and position right at the center of the Mediterranean reflect deeply on its climate. Endless sunshine, moderate rainfalls, and good aeration characterize pretty much the whole region with minor seasonal variations. Palm trees and other tropical plants and fruits are a fairly common sight in Sicily all year round.
Among the several benefits of this climate one stands out: in Sicily, grapes can grow without being imperiled by mildew, rot, or any other disease brought by too much humidity. Sicilian grapes are generally speaking naturally healthy, hence the substantial number of certified organic or biodynamic wineries.
The Red Wines of Sicily
The most widely planted red grape varietal in Sicily is Nero d'Avola, which accounts for about 20% of the total regional wine production. Frappato is another prominent red varietal, used to make the only DOCG wine in Sicily, Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG.
Less common but typical of Sicily are Alicante, similar to Grenache, Nocera, and Perrone often blended with Nero d'Avola. On the slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna, Nerello Mascalese, and Nerello Cappuccio are key red grape varietals in the popular Etna DOC appellation.
The White Wines of Sicily
Marsala and Passito di Pantelleria are perhaps the most famous Sicilian white wines, although their popularity has been waning over the years in favor of dry and refreshing white wines made from native varietals Inzolia and Grillo are fairly easy to find in the United States and generally very good.
In a similar way to Umbria, the Central Italian region known for the red tannic wine Sagrantino di Montefalco, Chardonnay has found its place also in Sicily. Chardonnay from Sicily can vary in quality depending on the producer.
On Primal Wine we sell one of the few 100% Chardonnay vinified with extended skin-contact in the style of an Orange Wine made by the excellent Marabino winery from organically farmed grapes.