Drink: Tasca D'Almerita Cygnus IGT 2010
Sicily's abundant and lusty red grape, nero d'Avola, has been gaining respect in recent years. The addition of less-traditional cabernet sauvignon (40 percent) to this Cygnus I.G.T. blend from Tasca d'Almerita, however, has struck a resounding note with both Italians and an international audience. The 2010 Cygnus was one of 19 Sicilian wines last year awarded the prestigious "Tre Bicchieri" from the authoritative Gambero Rosso guide. Harrisburg's wine honchos love it so much, the P.L.C.B. snapped up 500 cases - a sixth of the entire production. The volume buy equals a healthy $14 discount off list price, and as a result, this is a fantastic $20 bottle. The nero d'Avola (which Tasca's notes say was "once the ugly duckling among the vines") grounds the vino in juicy cherry, coffee, and edgy Italian acidity, while the cab adds a softening plush of dark fruit. Together, they're polished in oak to a graceful, modern accessibility worthy of its name. "Cygnus" is Latin for swan - and an homage to Richard Wagner, whom legend says was inspired by the swans he saw while staying at Villa Tasca.
- Craig LaBan
Tasca D'Almerita Cygnus IGT 2010, $19.99 (code 32919) in Pennsylvania.