Weekend Vinopolpick– August 24th

August 24, 2013

Gulfi, Sicilia

Champion of Cru Nero d’Avola

Gulfi’s old vines grow using the albarello system,
an ancient method of vine training involving no wires or other system of support,
and resulting in a goblet (albarello) shaped growth.

       Nero d’Avola was all the rage in the wine bars of Rome a decade or two ago, and, extending to foreign shores as a trendy red wine option for a while. But, like all trends, it ran its course and, in this case, has gone towards mass, industrialized wine production. But this is not a variety to be taken lightly, as, in the right hands, it can produce terrifically expressive, exquisite wines. Such is the case of the Nero d’Avolas from Gulfi, who has become a champion of this variety’s potential for producing world class wines.  In contrast to the sea of dense, one-note industrial Nero d’Avola, Gulfi wines uncover layers of delineation and nuance more common to the great wines of Piedmont than those of Sicily. Gulfi was created in 1995 through a collaboration between Milanese businessman Vito Catania and wine grower Salvo Foti (who has also established a reputation for terrific natural, terroir-driven wines in the Mt. Etna region). The project has not only protected old vines from being pulled up in favor of newer, more densely planted (and, possibly, higher profit) vines, but it has made Nero d’Avola its grape variety of choice, creating six great varietal wines, four of which are historic crus (Nerobufaleffj, Neromaccarj, Nerobaronj, and Nerosanloré)  in the sea-level vineyards of Pachino, facing the coastline of south-eastern Sicily.
 “When I decided with Salvo Foti to isolate some parcels and make 4 different Crus, I already knew that these places had different expressions. Call it terroir or whatever, these diverse environments had always produced different wines that were traditionally not blended. So, a long time ago Sicilian farmers already knew that these parcels had something special, including their ageing potential. But I find that, year after year, we got a better definition of the different soils and also gained in balance. It is incredible how fresh these wines are when you consider the high temperatures we have during the summer. Both, choosing specific terroirs and working naturally, helped Gulfi to make well-balanced and long ageing wines… Our Crus could be compared to some great Chateauneuf du Pape that I enjoy drinking when they are young but which are extraordinary after a long ageing. For example, we are having now, at home, some Nerobufaleffj or Neromaccarj 2001. Delicate, elegant with a long finish, they develop beautiful aromas that you can not get at an early stage.” Vito Catania, Owner of Gulfi, from VinItaly in 2010
The 2008 vintage of Gulfi expresses the elegant side of Nero D’Avola more so than any others.
The Nerosanlore has already sold out, here are the remaining Gulfi Crus: 


Gulfi Nerobaronj 2008 ($49.95) $31.90 special
The Baroni Vineyard, the source of Nerobaronj, is composed of white, almost lunar color calcareous unirrigated soil that nourishes the low-yielding vines from planted in the early 1970s.
Wine Advocate 95 points “The highlight among these new releases is the 2008 Nerobaronj. An exotic melange of juicy dark cherries, freshly cut flowers, licorice and tobacco takes shape as this huge, racy wine shows off its irrepressible personality. The integrity of the fruit and the wine’s sheer balance are both marvelous to behold. Layers of fruit fill out the broad-shouldered finish beautifully. In 2008, the Nerobaronj is striking in every way. I loved it. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today
The average listed price in the USA is $39/ bottle

Gulfi Nerobufaleffj 2008 ($49.95) $36 special 

Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2008 Nerobufaleffj comes across as being on the edge of ripeness in this vintage. An opulent, sleek wine, the Nerobufaleffj offers up racy red cherries, flowers, mint, tobacco and licorice. Despite its irrepressibly exotic and at times opulent personality, the 2008 remains relatively light on its feet. Readers can look forward to another 5-7 years of fine drinking. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today
The average listed price in the USA is $42/ bottle

Gulfi Neromaccarj 2008 ($49.95) $37 special 
The Maccarj Vineyard calcareous clay soil characterized by very thin and compact stratifications, resulting in the most power and rich of the various cru wines.
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2008 Neromaccarj is one of the firmer, darker wines in this range. There is also an element of inner reserve that is utterly beguiling. Dark black cherries, plums, licorice and minerals sit on a firm backbone of tannins that give the wine its energy. Notable for its intensity and power, the 2008 brings together ripeness and structure in a complete wine that is an absolute joy to taste. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today
The average listed price in the USA is $40/ bottle