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Stemmari Dalila 2012, Sicily
Cost: $13-15
I don’t come across Sicilian wines very often, and when I do it seems they’re mostly from the red grape Nero d’Avola. So it was nice to find this pleasant white wine made from Grillo (80 percent) and Viognier (20 percent).
Grillo is a native Sicilian varietal that brings intense tropical floral and fruit aromas while the Viognier shows delicate peach and citrus. Together they make a smooth blend that hits all the right notes.
The aromatics are powerful, and they show up as you pour the wine into your glass. The color is a pale yellow with touches of green. The flavor is an elegant melding of peach, citrus and floral with an undercurrent of vanilla and oak.
After the Grillo grapes are picked 70 percent of them are destemmed and undergo a soft pressing. The rest go through maceration on the skins for about 12 hours. The juice then goes through controlled fermentation for 10 days followed by maturation in stainless steel tanks.
After picking, the Viognier grapes undergo destemming and soft pressing followed by cold decanting for 24 hours. Yeast is added and the wine ferments in three-year-old barriques with a light toast. It then spends eight months in oak with periodic stirring.
Stemmari Dalila
Stemmari Dalila
The wines are then blended and aged in stainless steel for another four months. The blend spends four months in bottles before it is released. The result is a complex, refreshing elegant wine that most white wine drinkers should love. The fruit is powerful, but there is a nice backbone of acidity to make this a great food wine.
Sicily has been known for producing rich flavored, full-bodied wines for centuries. Hot sun is moderated by Mediterranean breezes to produce great growing conditions on the island’s hillsides. Much of the wine in the 20th Century was nondiscript table wine or the sweet fortified wine known as Marsala. Quantity was valued over quality.
In the past 30 years or so, some producers have begun to change that, investing in replanting vineyards and building modern wineries. The result is some outstanding wines coming from Sicily, including Dalila, and Stemmari’s Nero d’Avola/Cabernet Sauvignon blend Cantodoro.
The labels of Delila and Cantodoro have music printed on them, an appropriate metaphor for these two elegant blends.
Stemmari has teamed up with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to provide financial assistance to families of military personnel killed or wounded in action. It donates a portion of its sales to the SOWF for college scholarships, family services which includes educational and family counseling and advocacy support, and Wounded Special Operations Forces Support that includes immediate financial stipends of $3,000.
The winery said it supports the SOWF in honor of the forces who fought for the liberation of Sicily 72 years ago, and to support families of today’s special forces.
Winery: Owned by Trentino-based Mezzacorona, the Feudo Arancio winery is dedicated to sustainable growing. The parent company invested $150 million in replanting and rebuilding the estates and the Stemmari label.
The winery has 1,700 acres in two estates along the south coast of Sicily, one in Sambuca di Sicilia in the Agrigento province and the other in Acate in the province of Ragusa.
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Stemmari’s portfolio includes Nero d’Avola, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, the Cantodoro red blend, as well as a sparkling white wine Baci Vivaci. Stemmari has earned Eco-Management and Audit Scheme certification.
The winery restricts use of chemical treatments as much as possible and introduces positive insects in the vineyards. All plant waste also is recycled as fertilizer.
Solar panels produce electricity, and seven artificial reservoirs are part of a water treatment system. The company also desalinates sea water through reverse osmosis.
Stemmari Dalila was a great match for lobster tails.
Stemmari Dalila was a great match for lobster tails.
Goes with: We had this wine with broiled lobster tails, baked potatoes and creamed corn. It tasted like this wine was made for this food.
The best pairings are food and wine from the same area. With Sicily being a Meditterranean island, I would suspect a lot of seafood is eaten there, so it would make sense for a white wine from this area to be perfectly matched with seafood.
With lobster tails I like wines with good fruit, especially citrus. The Dalila has that in spades. It was a great blending of flavors, with the wine cutting right through the richness of the butter-drenched lobster.
Dalila also would go well with pasta with alfredo sauce, chicken parmesan, all kinds of fowl on the grill, many light seafood dishes, some spicy dishes and medium aged cheeses. It also would be good as an aperitif. Serve it well chilled.

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