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An Addition to Sicily’s Specialty

The huge Mediterranean Island of Sicily could be considered its own continent, or country for that matter. The diverse geography ranges from mountains to sandy beaches with huge expanses of vineyards, farmed fields and woodlands in between. Since antiquity, it’s been at the crossroads of civilization. It was the bread basket of ancient Greece. As well, the Greeks brought viticulture to the island over 3,000 years ago. Whether it’s the historic Valley of the Temples in Agrigento or Mount Etna that erupts regularly, and everything in between, it’s a kaleidoscope of culture, places and landscapes. And let’s not forget the sun and moderate climate for which the term “Mediterranean” is known the world over.

Nero D’Avola is the best known and most widely planted red varietal and is indigenous to the island. It yields wines of deep colour and flavour, with moderate structure, juicy acidity and soft-to-medium tannins. But Sicilian-based Cusumano winery has kicked things up a notch by combining the complex character of Syrah with the power of Nero D’Avola in its Benuara blend. Hailing from their Presti e Pegni estate in southeastern Sicily, its deep brooding colour takes us on a journey filled with delicious and exciting black fruits in the bouquet while providing a full body on the palate underpinned by fine tannins and a long finish. It ticks off all the boxes for what consumers are looking for in a red wine that overdelivers for the price of only $17.95. Yes, $17.95! Drinking well now, it has good aging potential should you wish to lay down a few bottles to see how it develops further complexity. The James Suckling panel taster, Zehun Shuai, rated it 91 points. Enjoy with your choice of assorted meats. But the smokiness of slightly charred calamari done on the BBQ makes an interesting counterpoint to smoky nuances of the wine.

2021 Cusumano “Presti e Pegni” Benuara Syrah Nero D’Avola LCBO # 597138, $17.95