Open for tasting this weekend (19th October)
By Jane Boyce MW
If you are a fan of the BBC4 Montalbano series you will already be familiar with the rolling countryside around Noto and Ragusa in south east Sicily. This is the location of the Gulfi estate which I was lucky enough to visit last year with a group of fellow Masters of Wine.
The Catania family have championed the indigenous Nero d’Avola grape and shown it has the potential to produce top quality wines when using old bush vines and farming organically with respect for the differing soil types of the area.
The dynamic young son, Matteo (check out those shoes!) has taken over the reins at the family estate. As well as the 175 hectares they have under vine, Matteo has overseen the buildling of a brand new winery and has opened a “locanda” (inn) to host visitors. They are now fully certified organic and were voted Italian winery of the year in 2012.
Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most important red wine grape and has its origins in this south easterly region around Pachino. It thrives in the warm climate (Pachino is further south than most of Tunisia!) and the bush vines cope admirably with the strong winds and maritime influence.
Gulfi Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG 2012
16.5 pts (Jancis Robinson Purple Pages, 24 Nov 2012).
This is the traditional wine of this area. A blend of Frappato and nero d’Avola, it is made for drinking young. A bouquet of fresh red cherries and spice. Lively juicy palate with low tannin but fresh acidity.
Gulfi Nerojbleo 2009
The 2007 vintage of Nerojbleo attracted a score of 92 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Red fruits and vanilla on the nose. A warm, rich red wine with dense spicy fruit spiked with fresh acidity and grainy tannins.
Gulfi Neromaccarji 2008
94 pts (Antonio Galloni, eRobertParker.com, Feb 2013)
2008 was an excellent vintage in Sicily and this wine is one of the most impressive of the Gulfi range. Dark black cherries on the nose with notes of licorice and spice. Concentrated, intense, brooding black fruit on the palate, it has impressive structure and power.
Gulfi Nerobaronj 2008 (magnum)95 pts (Antonio Galloni, eRobertParker.com, Feb 2013).
Grown on limestone soils, this impressive wine has a very pure blackcurrant bouquet. It is really silky and elegant with great balance and length.