Caruso & Minini have their cellars in Marsala but work inland, with more than a hundred hectares of vineyards about 20 km from the coast, between Marsala and Salemi, in a hilly area that was quite beautiful until a Dutch (if I remember right) outfit appeared with papers saying the Government had authorized them to set up a wind farm, and that Caruso & Minini’s vineyards were the perfect location: They could either authorize construction or have their land confiscated. So after a talk with his lawyer Stefano Caruso authorized, and now the pylons are there, with turbines that whoosh as they turn, sending profits, he says, God-Knows-Where.
Yes, that’s progress in Italy.
Truth be told, while the wind pylons are a serious eyesore, they don’t impact the wines, a selection of which we tasted with Stefano in the their tasting room in Marsala. I was especially impressed by their Perricone, an indigenous varietal I found quite interesting.
Caruso & Minini Terra di Giumara Grecanico 2011
Grecanico is the last varietal they harvest, at the end of the September. Lively brassy gold with brilliant greenish golden brassy reflections. The bouquet is fresh, with lively floral accents supported by some citrus and heather, and slight herbal notes, also some sage and minerality, and hints (just hints) of sweaty blonde. On the palate it’s medium bodied, with bright sage laced minerality supported by lively lemony acidity and tannins from grape that have a slight gunflint burr, and flow into a clean rather mineral finish with lasting bitterness. Quite fresh, bracing even, and will work nicely with seafood pasta dishes, and also white meats, and has the acidity necessary to stand up to fried fish. Expect it to go quickly.
Caruso & Minini Terra di Giumara Inzolia 2011
Brassy white with brilliant brassy reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, with floral accents mingled with honeysuckle and some minerality, also slight underlying acidity; Stefano says that he finds pineapple and thinking about it, as he opens it’s there.. Deft. On the palate it’s bright, with lively citric minerality and some gunflint bitterness that flow into a clean rather bitter finish. Lively and zesty, a pleasant rather powerful wine that will work well with grilled or roasted flavorful fish. More powerful than the Grecanico, and more intense. It’s more of a food wine, and more demanding.
Caruso & Minini Timpune Grillo 2011
Brilliant brass gold with gold reflections and some yellow in the rim. The bouquet is intense, with powerful mineral laced citrus supported by some honeysuckle and a fair amount of heather with some underlying sage and slight oxidative elements. Pleasant with quite a bit going on. On the palate it’s bright, with lively lemony pineapple fruit supported by mineral laced citric acidity with a fairly pronounced gunflint underpinning, and considerable warmth that flow into a long sour lemon-pineapple finish. Nice complexity and power, and will drink well with foods, from vegetable soups though fairly hearty fish. By comparison with the first two it is more powerful, and will also age more, 5 years at least
Caruso & Minini Terra di Giumara Nero D’Avola 2010
Deep black cherry ruby with brilliant cherry reflections. The bouquet is fresh, with jammy blackberry and cassis fruit supported by slight menthol that confers freshness and pleasant spice. On the palate it’s fresh and smooth on the outset, with lively cherry and forest berry fruit supported by warm berry fruit acidity and by tannins that start smooth and settle into lasting warmth with some savory accents. The finish is a bit too warm to make it a good candidate for sipping — it becomes rather aggressive — but it will work well with grilled meats, especially more flavorful cut such as lamb chops.
Caruso & Minini Sachìa Perricone 2009
Deep pyrope ruby with violet at the rim. The bouquet is quite intense, with woodsy herbs, tarragon and rosemary, mingled with gunpowder and minerality and menthol as it opens, with underlying berry fruit as well. A lot going on and interesting to sniff because it changes as it evolves in the glass. On the palate it’s bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by licorice root and spice, and by bright slightly graphite laced acidity, and by tannins that are bright, though not huge, and fairly mineral, and flow into a fairly long graphite shaving laced berry fruit finish with mineral acid underpinning and again the herbs from the nose. It’s brash and lithe, and not the least bit retiring, a wine that you will either like or not. No middle ground, but if you like it you’ll want a second bottle, and drink it with — in Sicily — tuna steaks, or zesty grilled meats. A fellow taster suggests medium rare duck.
Caruso & Minini Cusora Rosso 2010
This is a Syrah-Merlot blend, half of which spends 8-10 months in wood. This is the marriage of the two foreign varietals Stefano finds best suited to Sicily. Deep pyrope with violet rim. The bouquet is intense, with underbrush and spice mingled with cassis and some graphite shaving, and also slight spice. On the palate it’s ample and smooth with bright berry fruit supported by moderately intense berry fruit acidity and warmth, and by smooth sweet tannins that have some graphite shaving bitterness, and flow into a fairly long slightly bitter berry fruit finish that gains warmth from alcohol. The Italian wod that comes to mind is ruffiano, which applies (in a good sense here) to a person who is ingratiating to get upon one’s good side, and it will drink nicely with foods. It’s pleasant in a more international key, which makes sense given the varietal makeup.
More wines from Caruso & Minini, tasted at the En Primeur presentation:
Caruso & Minini Isula Catarratto IGP Sicilia 2011
Brassy white with brilliant brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is fairly intense, with floral accents and minerality supported by sea salt and moderately intense acidity, and as it opens some mentholated notes and moderate crisp green apple. Quite fresh. On the palate it’s ample and fairly rich, with minerality and some greenish accents mingled with a flinty underpinning and flows into a fairly long tart finish. Up front, and fairly direct.
Caruso & Minini Delia Nivolelli Syrah Riserva Delia Nivolelli DOC 2008
Pyrope ink with brick ruby in the rim, which pales to white. The bouquet is intense, with chocolate and mint, a combination that brings After Eight candied to mind, supported by some savory berry fruit and some underbrush. On the palate it’s ample and intense, with moderate berry fruit supported by berry fruit acidity and by tannins that have a minty cast that echoes the nose, and flow into a fairly long minty finish with a berry fruit and cocoa underpinning. It’s powerful and particular, and is not a wine to sip far from the table, but rather with hearty meats. It’s also particular, and is a wine you will either like or not. Takes no quarter.
Caruso & Minini Cutaja Nero D’Avola IGP Sicilia 2009
Impenetrable pyrope with cherry ruby rim Almost poured ink. The bouquet is fairly rich, with jammy berry fruit supported by cassis and some graphite shavings. Fresh and approachable. On the palate it’s ample and smooth with rich cherry and cassis fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that have some graphite shaving bitterness and flow into a clean fairly sweet jammy cassis fruit finish. It’s approachable and will be easy to drink with white meats or light stews, and will do a nice job of supporting what it’s served with; it will also work nicely by the glass.