In the southeastern corner of Sicily, west of Modica and Ragusa, the town of Vittoria is the home of Sicily’s sole DOCG (Italy’s strictest form of wine certification), known as Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Cerasuolo is an enlightened blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola, and the two grapes when blended create a harmonious symphony of flavor and texture. Well-made Cerasuolo has a medium-bodied, sensual, seductive personality, and the Portelli family has mastered this fine example of southern Sicilian charm. Alessandro is the fifth generation of the Portelli family to tend their land, and currently works with his father Salvatore. The estate was founded in 1863 by Basilio Portelli who was succeeded by his son, grandson, great-grandson, and great-great grandson to arrive at present day. The family grew their own grapes, vinified their own wine, and sold it in bottle, long before most others in the area. The Portellis were among the first growers in the Vittoria area and welcomed many others over the years. The Portellis have mastered the maceration and extraction to get the most out of their grapes—their wines are loaded with charm and luscious fruit while possessing plenty of structure on the back end. They grow two varieties: Frappato and Nero d’Avola, the latter known locally as Calabrese. Calabrese shows much more elegance here in the soils of Vittoria than it does in other areas of Sicily, where it tends to earn its keep as a wine of brawn and power. The Portellis are crafting Calabrese with elegance and refinement, country charm wrapped in suede. Their Frappato, while the most fruit forward wine they make, is no simple quaffer! The Portelli family’s wines are fresh, vibrant, and joyful to drink, all while being faithful representatives of their native land.
Consider this collection your golden ticket of sorts, your invitation to a dinner party with a group of underground artisans, champions of outsider winemaking culture, and a snapshot of a south of France that may be less iconic, but no less authentic.
So what do you call a collection of delicious, well-made wines that offer serious bang for your buck? A surfeit of tastiness, a scad of enjoyment, an ambrosia of libations? I like a plethora of values.
While some of the world’s greatest and grandest reds hail from northern Italy, this territory—which actually consists of eight Italian regions—is perhaps even more noteworthy for its tremendous diversity of everyday rosso.
Many of our best values, all in one place for your browsing pleasure: bargain whites, rosés, reds, and even a couple of sparklers, made by real people and reefer-shipped so they arrive in your hands in nothing less than perfect condition.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa