Review: Cantine Ermes 2019 Quattro Quarti and 2016 Epicentro
Cantine Ermes is a major wine producer on the Italian island of Sicily. Today we look at two hearty reds from the operation, both built around Sicily’s indigenous nero d’avola grape.
2019 Cantine Ermes Quattro Quarti Appassimento Nero D’Avola Sicilia DOC – Made in the appassimento style (with partially dried grapes) iconic to Valpolicella, you’d be easily forgiven for assuming this wine was made there instead of in Sicily. Rich with black fruit and gently sweet, the wine provides a complexity of flavors that run from stewed prunes and dark raisins to cloves and a dash of vanilla. Sharper notes of rhubarb and some balsamic give the finish a touch of acidity. Lots going on here, especially as it opens up with time in glass. A- / $18
2016 Cantine Ermes Epicentro Nero D’Avola Riserva Sicilia DOC – No appassimento here; this is a straight fermentation of nero d’avola, though it carries a substantial and rather surprising sweetness. The wine is lush with strawberry and some candied cherry notes, pouring on notes of pomegranate-heavy grenadine as it develops in the glass. Lots of vanilla and a hint of rhubarb in the mix. It never comes together perfectly well, but paired with the right food — think duck breast or pork chops — it can work. B / $18
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