PICK of SICILY: Cusumano | Benuara | Red Wine | Sicily | Italy | 2012 | $16 | 87 pts

BenuaraA deeply purpled blend of Nero d’Avola (70%) and Syrah (30%), this table red from Sicily offers notes of brandied dark fruit, dried blackberry, and thyme on the nose; and on the palate suggestions of pomegranate, grilled red bell pepper, espresso, and toffee, with hints of nutmeg and red grapefruit zest on a firm finish. The wine is full-bodied and tangy, with assertive acids, puckery tannins, and subtle oak. It is a hearty red with a juicy mouthfeel reminiscent of Zinfandel, but its expression is more tart than sweet. Serve it with sharp cheeses, an assortment of charcuterie, tomato-based pasta dishes, and fall casseroles. It will serve well as a casual, cool weather red. (14.5% ABV) We found Cusumano’s 2012 Benuara at our local Wegman’s supermarket, and it is available at many of their locations nationwide.

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