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The Society's Sicilian Reserve Red 2017

Red Wine from Italy - S Italy and Islands
Smooth, generous and fragrant red from Sicily's nero d'Avola grape. This Italian red has been extremely popular since we introduced it, because it hits the spot and is great value.
Price: £8.50 Bottle
Price: £102.00 Case of 12
Low stock
Code: IT31011

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Nero d'Avola
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2025
  • 75cl
  • Cork, diam

Southern Italy

In ancient times this was the main source of high-quality wines from the peninsula of Italy The Greeks had introduced viniculture through their colonies there and named the bottom half of the peninsula ‘Oenotrai’ or land of wine, and the Romans expanded on the tradition, particularly in the Campania where many wealthy citizens owned vast estates and some of the most famous wines of the empire were made, such as Falernum. Some grape names appear to reflect the Greco-Roman influence (greco, aglianico), though this may be more about folk-memory than fact as there is no ampelographical evidence linking these varieties to any Greek ancient forbears.

Campania itself is the area around Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Naturally there are volcanic soils in the vicinity and as the vineyards climb the Apennines there is altitude to cool the grapes as they ripen. As such there is a balancing freshness to the fruity wines. Greco di Tufo, fiano (especially from Avellino) and falanghina are among the ...
In ancient times this was the main source of high-quality wines from the peninsula of Italy The Greeks had introduced viniculture through their colonies there and named the bottom half of the peninsula ‘Oenotrai’ or land of wine, and the Romans expanded on the tradition, particularly in the Campania where many wealthy citizens owned vast estates and some of the most famous wines of the empire were made, such as Falernum. Some grape names appear to reflect the Greco-Roman influence (greco, aglianico), though this may be more about folk-memory than fact as there is no ampelographical evidence linking these varieties to any Greek ancient forbears.

Campania itself is the area around Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Naturally there are volcanic soils in the vicinity and as the vineyards climb the Apennines there is altitude to cool the grapes as they ripen. As such there is a balancing freshness to the fruity wines. Greco di Tufo, fiano (especially from Avellino) and falanghina are among the best white wines, characterful and perfumed. Of the red varieties it is aglianico that makes the most impressive examples on the volcanic soils of Taurasi, though there is potential promised and realized in other varieties like piedirosso.

There are excellent aglianico wines from Basilicata, the once impoverished region on the instep of the Italian boot. Inland on the border with Puglia, round the extinct volcano of Monte Vulture, the aglianico grape performs admirably to produce powerful ageworthy red wines that retain a thread of finesse.

Calabria is the toe of the boot, and another region of limited economic development in recent decades. From one end of the province to the other mountains form a spine and, unlike in Campania, the vineyards producing the best wines are on the flat. In particular the DOC of Cirò on the Gulf of Taranto in the east of the province produces perfumed red wines from the indigenous gaglioppo grape.

Across the Apennines on the Adriatic coast lies Puglia, a region that has begun to overcome a longstanding reputation for producing wines for bulk export but is now producing a range of fascinating good-value red wines from varieties like negroamaro, primitivo (aka zinfandel in California) and uva di troia. In the right hands all of them are capable of making very fine wines with plenty of ripe fruit, concentration and structure but without the overpowering alcohols that a hot climate and indifferent winemaking once routinely produced. They are also often excellent value. Puglia is largely flat, almost table-like lacking the softening effects of altitude must rely on the air conditioning of the sea and the skill of the winemaker to make balanced wines. Vines are consistently bush trained to retain shade and moisture. The best wines come from the Salento peninsula where the sea is on three sides and the best producers reside. Full-bodied negroamaro from Brindisi and Copertino and primitivo from soils underpinned by limestone in Manduria can be excellent Whites tend to be greco, fiano and minutolo, and there are some well-flavoured rosé wines as a speciality of the region. Whites too are now catching up in quality.

Sicily has shown itself to be one of the most forward thinking Italian regions in recent years, with an awakening pride in the quality that can be achieved on this hot, socially complex and culturally saturated island. Sicily was once famous for the fortified Marsala wines that Nelson bought to victual his Mediterranean fleet, but as this fame and the sales that went with it dwindled many producers recognised that there was a need to produce table wines of greater quality. Bulk wine still leaves the island in tankers but there has been something of a revolution in viticulture and viniculture and Sicily now produces some of Italy’s best and most interesting wines. Nero d’Avola has been a conspicuous success, and makes everything from fruity entry-level reds to powerful, ripe and structured reds that can age and is often a major component in high-quality blends with syrah, cabernet and merlot. Mount Etna is a source of fine reds and whites of depth, finesse and zest, grown on the slopes of the famous volcano. Altitude and volcanic soils provide excellent conditions for the local nerello mascalese, nerello cappuccio and carricante (a white grape) vines. The white former mainstays of Marsala production cataratto and grillo are being given their head by winemakers who want them to shine alone and shine they do. Finally there has been a renaissance of interest in the intense, sweet muscat wines of the island of Pantelleria, an island closer to Tunisia than Sicily.

Sardinia, until 1708 a Spanish possession, grows several vines that reflect an Iberian heritage. Graciano and mazuelo grow here as bovale sardo and boval grande respectively. Cannonau is grenache/garnacha by another less Spanish name. The grape that the island has exported to other parts is vermentino from which its finest, aromatic and flavoursome whites are made. Mazuelo, better known as carignan, makes the islands best reds called carignano del Sulcis.
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Feudo Arancio

This substantial Sicilian estate is based on the windy south coast of Sicily. It has two large vineyard areas, covering almost 700 hectares in total, situated at Sambuca di Sicilia in the west and Ragusa in the east.

The grape varieties are each planted in separate blocks, and are used to produce a range of single-varietal wines in the state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled winery, although some of the wines are also bottled at the excellent Mezzacorona winery at the foot of the Italian Dolomites in north-east Italy.

Italy Vintage 2017

2017 was a year that began with trouble, endured spikes of heat and even drought during the summer, and harvested at low yields – about 25% down on average – as a result. However, these trials have led to some high-quality wines from across the country as those low yields led to good quality fruit.

In the north-east, Barolo and Barbaresco it was a difficult vintage to negotiate. Budbreak was early which gave the devastating frosts and hail storms of April something to get their teeth into. Though the summer was warm and dry, with some drought in places, the harvest was considerably down and both Barolo and Barbaresco rely on good winemakers making good choices to achieve good results. Time will tell as the wines mature.

In the Veneto, Valpolicella was not so hard hit by frosts in the Classico area, but yields were nonetheless down after warm dry weather forced an early harvest. The wines are good, in part thanks to low yields.

In Tuscany and central Italy generally it too was a...
2017 was a year that began with trouble, endured spikes of heat and even drought during the summer, and harvested at low yields – about 25% down on average – as a result. However, these trials have led to some high-quality wines from across the country as those low yields led to good quality fruit.

In the north-east, Barolo and Barbaresco it was a difficult vintage to negotiate. Budbreak was early which gave the devastating frosts and hail storms of April something to get their teeth into. Though the summer was warm and dry, with some drought in places, the harvest was considerably down and both Barolo and Barbaresco rely on good winemakers making good choices to achieve good results. Time will tell as the wines mature.

In the Veneto, Valpolicella was not so hard hit by frosts in the Classico area, but yields were nonetheless down after warm dry weather forced an early harvest. The wines are good, in part thanks to low yields.

In Tuscany and central Italy generally it too was a difficult vintage but one that has, by and large, produced rich, intense red wines. The same story prevailed here; frosts, followed by drought-like conditions at times, and low yields. Good winemakers will have avoided overripeness.

The south was hotter still and drought caused difficulties across the region, from Puglia to Sicily. Again, yields were much reduced but quality ended up being very high, particularly for red wines.
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2017 vintage reviews
2016 vintage reviews
2015 vintage reviews

Rotherham and South Yorkshire Advertiser

Great value smooth fragrant red from nero d'Avola.

- David Clay

JancisRobinson.com

Dark crimson. Slightly tired nose and definitely sweet on the palate. A bit of a hole in the middle and definite tannic grip on the end but I can certainly see that it offers something easy to...
Dark crimson. Slightly tired nose and definitely sweet on the palate. A bit of a hole in the middle and definite tannic grip on the end but I can certainly see that it offers something easy to appreciate and definite maturity for the money.
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15.5/20

decanter.com

This guaranteed crowd-pleaser is a perennial favourite at The Wine Society. The Nero d'Avola grape produces a wine with abundant fleshy dark red fruit, ripe and with some oak influence from the...
This guaranteed crowd-pleaser is a perennial favourite at The Wine Society. The Nero d'Avola grape produces a wine with abundant fleshy dark red fruit, ripe and with some oak influence from the 10 months in French barriques. Great, uncomplicated everyday drinking for those who like their red wines smooth, ripe and fruit forward.
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90/100 Amy Wislocki

Hampstead & Highgate Express

…. warm, smooth, rich …

Liz Sagues

The Sunday Times

The nero d'Avola grape variety that dominates Sicilian winemaking creates supple, smooth reds that are always popular. This velvety medium-bodied example from The Society offers great value, with ...
The nero d'Avola grape variety that dominates Sicilian winemaking creates supple, smooth reds that are always popular. This velvety medium-bodied example from The Society offers great value, with a hint of oak and a satisfying finish.
Read more

- Will Lyons

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