Pure, unadulterated, naked in his essence. “Sergio is Nero d’Avola as it should be” in the mind of Baron Giovanni Sergio: without any contribution from wood. This red wine, so typical of Sicily, is derived from the island’s native grape par excellence: the Nero d’Avola. The Barone Sergio company is located in the heart of its typical cultivation area: southeastern Sicily, in the province of Syracuse. The vineyards are located in two districts: Le Mandrie and Gaudioso. This is the territory of Eloro Doc, one of the least known in the island.
The central figure here is Giovanni Sergio, a culturally refined Messinese lawyer and actual Baron, complete with a noble title. You may wonder: why would a Messinese decide to grow grapes more than 250 km from his hometown of Messina in the northern tip of the Trinacria Island? It’s a story that deserves to be told in full.
It all began in the second half of the eighteenth century, when a forebear of the Sergio family, Michele Mastrogiovanni Tasca da Mistretta, decided to transfer its herds from the north of the island (Mistretta is to the north, in the province of Messina) to Pachino (in the province of Syracuse), where he bought a large plot of land.
After several instances of the land being shared between heirs and passed down the line of succession, Baron Luigi Sergio, great-grandfather of the current owner, decided to start the first intensive crops. A further turning point came with Luigi, father of the current owner, who was responsible for the restructuring of the 130 hectares of existing property. In 1993 Giovanni Sergio took the helm of the company, taking over from his father, who died four years later. Among the many renovations done, there was also the restoration of the ancient rural fort, which nevertheless preserved the original features. To think, the ancient concrete tanks can still be admired in the historic cellar.
2004 saw a decisive turn: Sergio, by now an attorney, decided not to issue their grapes to another major company in the area and to start his own winemaking business with the help of oenologist Giovanni Rizzo (from Pantelleria) and Professor Lucio Brancadoro, agronomist at the University of Milan. The production of grapes is limited to 50 quintals per hectare. The thirty hectares of vineyards are grown espalier with spurred cordon pruning.
Barone Sergio’s is now a family business, and a very tight knit-family at that, whose success can be attributed to the valuable contribution and support of his wife Caterina and their two daughters Angela and Luigia, who deal with all levels of communication, the administrative and the commercial sides.
Which brings us to wine: it is named Sergio (as the owner), 2010 vintage, and is a Nero d’Avola, Eloro DOC.
The aromatic content is a kaleidoscope of sensations that make it clear as to what exactly the potential of the Nero d’Avola grape is. Many shades, but no single one takes precedence: it is balsamic, rich, intense, with hints of red fruit like cherry jam, spices like black pepper and rosemary. But there are also more advanced flavors, from coffee beans to pipe tobacco. The taste is intense, with fine tannins, well blended, smooth and long-range. It is abundantly clear that the grapes were treated with kid gloves in order to produce a pure and noble wine.
I advise you to drink it with roast meats and aged cheeses (see: Caciocavallo Ragusano). Excellent quality / price ratio.
Technical notes: one year’s refining in steel tanks, followed by aging in bottle for as much as five years before being released on the market.
Retail Price – € 10 – $ 10,5 – My rating: 89/100