Cortese Senia Nero d'Avola has an extremely intense ruby red colour. On the bouquet there are prominent dark fruit notes of plums and blackberries, with nuances of balsamic, licorice and carob. A very full-bodied wine, with a refreshing acidity, and a long finish showing soft and intense tannins.
|Style||Dry, Red, Full Bodied, Herbaceous, Black Fruit, Spice, Tannin|
|Dietary||Vegetarian, Vegan, Sustainable, Organic|
About the region and producer
While Stefano and Marina Girelli are from Trento in the extreme north of Italy, it is the island of Sicily in the country’s deep south that has captured their hearts. Stefano realised many years ago that Sicily was generally underrated as quality wine producing region and that the potential for making premium wines was tremendous. Crucially, he also recognised that conditions for producing organic, low-intervention wines are perfect on the Sicilian island.
The previous owner of Azienda Agricola Cortese was the formidable matriarch lady Giovanna Cortese. It was some years ago that Giovanna first decided to sell the estate after she realised that she had reached an age when she couldn’t run it by herself, and it had become clear that no one in the family was going to take over. A true Sicilian, Giovanna is a tough negotiator and it took six years to reach a final agreement on the purchase of Cortese in 2016.
With a total vineyard area of 114,290 ha/282,296 acres, Sicily produced 6 million hl of wine in 2013, making it Italy’s second most important wine region after the Veneto. In terms of climate and geology Sicily is often, rightfully, considered a continent itself, running counter to its perceived image as a hot, arid island. Climates range from distinctly alpine on Mount Etna, where vineyards up to 1,000 m/3,280 ft elevation are no exception, to the subtropical on the island of pantelleria, which is closer to Tunisia than it is to the province of Trapani to which it administratively belongs. The island’s centre can be hot and dry, although at higher elevations there can be favourable diurnal temperature variability, while many regions are close enough to the coast to benefit from such constant winds that fungal diseases are a rarity except in the wettest of years. (source - jancisrobinson.com)
Vineyard and Wine Making
When we created Senia, we took our inspiration from traditional fermentation techniques. For this reason our Nero d’Avola is fermented in open top barriques, in small quantities of around 150 litres.
The grapes for Cortese Senia Nero d'Avola come from vines on the estate which are between 15-30 years old. They are very carefully harvested by hand into baskets. While still in their small baskets, the grapes are refrigerated down to a temperature of 10°C.
The grapes are fermented in open top barriques in small lots of around 150 litres. Using this method, it’s not possible to control the temperature during fermentation, but it never exceeds 18-24C°. The small volume allows it to adjust itself naturally. The grapes undergo fermentation for 10-12 days. The use of open top barrels allows for follatura (manually pushing down the skins) as often as is necessary for the natural and delicate extraction of colour and tannins from the skins. During the whole fermentation process no machines are used, meaning that the wine is treated in the most gentle way possible.
We leave the wine in contact with the skins for about 20 days after the fermentation and then for a total of 30-35 days. Once the maceration on the skins has ended, the wine is placed in barriques for the malolactic fermentation, after which it remains in barrel for 12 months before bottling. The wine stays a further 6 months in bottle before being released on to the market.
The production of Senia is extremely limited: in 2016 we produced 6,500
bottles and in 2017 around 10,000.
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