NEW YORK, N.Y. — As harvest ends this September, Sicilian producer Stemmari will introduce a new wine to its portfolio, Hedonis Riserva. The wine exemplifies the rich history of Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s signature grape that was introduced to the island by the Greeks in the 6th century. This age-worthy wine was created as a true expression of the Nero d’Avola, thereby one of the island’s most notable offerings of the varietal and a testament to the potential elegance of this distinguished grape. The wine will debut nationwide this fall for $49.99.
“Hedonis Riserva represents the passion and dedication Sicily has for its premiere grape, Nero d’Avola,” said Stemmari winemaker Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D. “And the wine we have crafted is very different than the Nero d’Avola found elsewhere on the island. We spent the last 15 years studying the varietal and discovering different growing and fermentation methods to create the most expressive wine possible.”
The winery’s vineyards are on the elevated, western part of Sicily, near the city of Agrigento, where Greek ruins still stand as a testament to the ancient influence on the island. The rich soils and warm climate with cool nights allow for ideal maturation. Half of the Nero d’Avola grapes are harvested in mid-September before undergoing fermentation and maceration for 18 days, as well as malolactic fermentation. This selection of wine is then aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. Another selection of Nero d’Avola hangs on the vine for a longer period of time to impart deeper and darker flavors before the apassimento method – when harvested grapes are left to dry for a few weeks to several months to concentrate the sugars and flavors – is utilized. This combination of vinification methodology adds to the complexity and depth of the overall blend. The appasimento wine is allowed to age in stainless steel for 18-20 months. Once each wine’s aging is complete, they are blended together in a specific ratio to achieve the desired expression.
Paying homage to the ancient Greek god of wine, Dionysus, the wine is named for the hedonist festivities performed in his honor. The label depicts the debauched and mythological wedding celebration of the deity and his new bride Ariadne, the immortal princess of Crete. Reveling in the pleasures of life and the union, the couple is surrounded by Satyrs and Mainades – female followers of Dionysus. The wine celebrates the mythological history by using Nero d’Avola, which is the single most important grape on the island and covers an estimated 50,000 acres. The Hedonis Riserva indulges the senses with its powerful aromatics and sensual and textural palate in honor of the Dionysian tradition.
(100% Nero d’Avola; 13% ABV; $49.99 SRP)
Color: Dark ruby red
Bouquet: Bountiful and deeply complex expression with hints of dried red fruits, anise, and sweet spices
Flavor: Notes of almond, vanilla, and tobacco result from the aging in wood; profound structure on the palate along with a velvety and fruit-forward profile, finishing with soft and sweet tannins
Pairings: Excellent to drink alone, with a meal, or paired with piquant cheeses. A perfect companion to red meats, salumi, and rich pastas in red sauce.
With a dedication to sustainable winemaking, Stemmari embraces the art of Sicilian living, celebrating the island’s culture of generous hospitality, vibrant cuisine, and intense respect for nature. Owned by Trentino-based Mezzacorona, which invested $150 million in replanting and rebuilding the Stemmari estates, Stemmari’s portfolio features a wine for every palate, including Nero d’Avola, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, two distinctive blends Dalila and Cantodoro. Stemmari, which has earned Eco-Management and Audit Scheme certification, cultivates its estate vines on two properties along the south coast of the island, one in Sambuca di Sicilia in the Agrigento province and the other in Acate in the province of Ragusa. For more information about Stemmari, go to www.stemmari.it; also visit Stemmari on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StemmariWine, follow the brand on Twitter at @StemmariWine, and on Instagram at @StemmariWine.