Alto Nero d'Avola represents the newest release from Tenuta Rapitala. This single vineyard wine is an elegant expression of Sicily's most important grape.
Terroir: Alto is sourced from a single high altitude vineyard on a 12 acre parcel of Rapitala's 500+ acres estate. The vineyard lies between at a high elevation of 1,300 to 1,700 feet and is planted to 10 year old cordon-spur trained Nero d'Avola vines. The terrain is dry and steep forcing the vines to dig deep into the barren soil. This high-altitude location sees significant diurnal changes in temperature, allowing for greater aromatic complexity and the development of a strong acidic backbone in the final wine.
Vinification: Fruit is hand harvested and brought to the cellars in small crates to avoid disturbing the ripe grapes. The grapes are cooled at the winery right at the foot of the vineyards. The must is macerated and vinified with pump-overs in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Following racking the young wine is transferred into third use or older French oak barriques where it will rest for five months before another racking and an additional 7 months in larger 50 hl oak barrels. The goal is a slow and delicate aging that stabilizes tannins and polyphenols.
The 2014 Rapitala Alto is a terroir-driven Nero d'Avola with a concentrated typicity seen its deep, ruby color, a generous bouquet of ripe red fruits and vanilla, and a full, round, delicious flavor with a spicy, red-fruit finish. Serve with lasagne, roasts and red meats also accompanied by delicate sauces; creamy cheeses, flans and soufflés. It is also enjoyable on its own or with exotic pairings.
Score: 89 PointsWine Spectator Author: Alison Napjus
Tar and black licorice notes herald this creamy, medium-bodied red, underscoring flavors of plumped cherry, orange zest and cocoa powder. Lively, with lightly chewy tannins that firm the finish. Drink now through 2021.
Score: 90 PointsThe Wine Advocate Author: Monica Larner
Elsewhere in Italy, 2014 was a difficult vintage. Not in Sicily. The 2014 Sicilia Nero d'Avola Alto is a complete and round wine with thick density that is highlighted by pretty aromas of cherry, blackberry, leather, tar and balsam herb. There's a good amount of sweet spice definition as well. The wine sees 12 months in oak of various sizes.
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