On Tuesday of this week, I tasted the above Etna Rosso Lenza di Munti by Nicosia as part of the Taste of Italy Virtual Trade Fair presented by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce South-Central (my client).
This wine simply blew me (and Tracie) away. Powerful but lithe in the glass, it had that “unbearable lightness” that makes wines like these stand apart from the crowd. And the wonderful balance between its tannin and texture buoyed its perfectly ripe, delicious red fruit and berry fruit. We drank about half the bottle the night I opened it for the virtual tasting. On day two, all kinds of other aromas and flavors kicked in: cinnamon, nutmeg, and wild sage. A gift that just kept giving, this bottle impressed me on so many levels, including the pricing.
But it was also impressive for how “ready-to-go” it is.
Especially now, as the new normal of the pandemic era settles in, Italian winemakers without U.S. representation are facing an uphill battle as they try to carve out a place for themselves on this side of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, so many of them don’t have the wherewithal that the U.S. market demands.
In my book, this wine — beyond being utterly moreish — has so much going for it. The pricing aligns with U.S. sensibilities. The packaging is smart and U.S.-friendly. And the winery has a perfectly bilingual, young Roman wine professional serving as its ambassador for our country. He’s familiar with our market, has already spent lots of time here, and he’s working on putting together a network of regional importers and distributors in the U.S.
Wines are like songs. If you write the greatest song in the world but you only play it by yourself in your room, you might as well not have even composed it (unless for your own idiosyncratic enjoyment). Analogously, a wine without the means to reach its target wine lover is like a song sung in the forest without anyone to hear it.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Nicosia — pronounced NEE-koh-ZEE-ah — has the right stuff. And while its international suppler rep Fabio has already lined up a few east coast importers beyond New York, he’s looking for partners in other states across the country.
This wine is 100 percent ready-to-go and 100 percent delicious. My recommendation is run don’t walk.