Planeta makes my favourite wine of the year

La Segreta Rosso IGT Sicilia 2005 (about $16) & La Segreta Rosso IGT Sicilia 2006 (about $16)

It was late last year that I tasted this 2005 blend of Nero D'Avola, Syrah and Merlot from Sicily. It was bold and unusual, not what I typically expect from Italian wines in the price range, namely expressions of light to medium body with some tart damson plum or zingy black cherry.

There weren't much of those. Or at the very least, you could've said the Syrah packaging aligned the fruit flavours of the Nero D'Avola and the Merlot with newer world traditions: cedar, spice box, lovely roasted notes, substantial body. It was perhaps too young to drink in 2006.

Fast forward to the end of the 2007. It was November and great praise met the release of the 2006 Segreta reds. Swayed by the positive reviews, my friends and I went out to buy and taste it. Somehow we ended up with a bottle of the 2005 back in front of us. We didn't know it at the time we opened it up.

We didn't know it, except immediately I felt I couldn't be drinking wine that was less than a year old. Sure enough, this was the older vintage. Although bright and charming, there was a mellowness and fine integration to it. I wasn't taking notes at the time, but it didn't matter. It was one of those tasting moments where all the elements come rushing together perfectly -- jotting down individual components of the wine as they come to you doesn't apply when a wine is this whole, with this much integrity.

Many critics underline how tones of mocha and raspberries envelope one another within the beautifully tannic arc of the 2005. I'd go along with that. But it'd be a cop-out not to provide my own notes on a wine I'm proclaiming a wine of the year. Problem is that there is no more 2005 left where I am and all I can do is retell the story of not paying enough attention to wine labels and the happy mistake it created.


So this post for one of my five favourite wines of the year is actually for two different wines. The Planeta Segreta Rosso 2005 -- the wine that moved me -- and the the Segreta Rosso 2006 -- my great "red" hope for drinking in the new year. (Click on the first "drink now" bottle image above for 2005 availability in Ontario -- click on the second "lay down" bottle image for 2006, which is what the SAQ is currently stocking across Quebec.)

So meet the 2006 red Segreta... It's not the same wine as the 2005 by any means -- it adds Cabernet Franc into the mix -- but if anything, its critical acclaim has only grown from last year's reaction. For more technical details and press, see the Planeta website, which is making me want to visit all corners of Sicily with every mouse click. With any luck, in about ten months' time the 2006 will integrate as amazingly as the 2005 has done (isn't it interesting that the release date for the 2005 Segreta was only in August -- about a year later than its release in Quebec and perhaps much more timely). Without a doubt, I know I can look forward to 2007's edition to be bottled and shipped out soon from this island off the tip of the Italian boot.

(While I admitted to not having notes for the 2005 other than a fallible memory, my notes for the 2006 are very much hot off the press, and I might add, rather hastily arranged from a BYOW dinner at a small, noisy, and dimly-lit resto, just moments ago.)

Eyes: Brickish red, but with intense hues and quite opaque.

Nose: Earth, thyme, hints of cooked fruit? Developing...

Mouth: Savoury attack, with stewed vegetables and ripe tomato, grippy but with a silky texture and somewhat woody.

Stomach: Garden fare done Italian-style, hearty pasta with sausages, bold herbs, anything oven-roasted.


Joe said...

Definitely not what I expected. I know I have had La Segreta, I just cannot recall the vintage.

RougeAndBlanc said...

Interesting. I found that a lot of Nero D'Avola wine has that woody/stew vegetable flavor. I do not drink a lot of Nero except from retail tasting. Thanks for the recommendation of pairing with hearty pasta.
I shall try one in '08 and Happy Holidays.

Marcus said...

I think Planeta is giving people a great in on the Sicilian wine renaissance with this bottle.

Goes great with so many dishes including Italian cuisine of course.