Producer: Cantina Marilina
Grapes: Nero d’Avola
Haley calls Nero d’Avola “the grape of Sicily,” owing to its high volume of production on the island. “This wine definitely has tobacco and volcanic ash happening,” she said. “The fruit is dark, dark, dark. But still fresh.” Black cherry, red currant, and wild herbs lend vibrancy to the earthier tones in this wine. Pair this versatile wine with everything from pork tenderloin, to runny cheese or a BLT.
Marilina and Federica Paterno helm the 60-hectare estate after taking over for their father, Angelo, who purchased the land in 2000, calling it one of the best viticultural sites he had ever seen. Angelo still helps in the cellar, but his daughters’ collective vision now drives the winery. The sisters work primarily with native Sicilian grapes, and they’re greatly influenced by local winemaker and natural wine ingenue Frank Cornelissen. Beyond organic certification, the estate is built on polyculture, which promotes ecosystem sustainability, and their wines contain little to no additives and minimal sulfur. “The really interesting thing about any Sicilian wine is the influence of Mount Etna,” Haley said. “It’s such a unique terroir.” The volcanic soils make for the island’s hallmark rustic, mineral-driven wines.