“Eat yesterday’s bread and last year’s wine.” (Sicilian Proverb)
I can remember years ago someone saying to me that she didn’t like history because everything about it was so old. While I guess that is true, especially when you talk about wine, history is such a large part of the conversation. Vintages are measured by years, so no wine ever had a “very good hour.”
Now the history of Sicily is long and varied. I don’t know of any part of the country that has been invaded and occupied more often and by more countries. The island has a very strategic military location in the Mediterranean Sea which has been used since before the days of the Empire up until World War II. With that kind of a history there is such a wide variety of culture and substance, a diversity of backgrounds but there is an unmistakable love of the country, the traditions and family.
LIGNUM is an ancient Latin word meaning “wood.” That is the inspiration for this blend of wine containing Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The attractive bottle is adorned with a label made to resemble a wooden plank, complete with knots and a nice grain look. This is designated as an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wine, a class first introduced around 1992 which gave winemakers a little more freedom that rather than rating a wine based on quality, as with DOC or DOCG wine classification, but instead focusing on the region of origin rather than grape varieties or wine styles.
Lignum is just such a blend and truly benefits from this system. As for color, out of the bottle it kind of resembles vermouth. But looks can be very deceiving as it tends to morph into a deep ruby color. On the nose there is a hint of earthiness, dark chocolate and deep red berries. After letting it rest for about an hour a sip revealed a very full bodied wine that packs a ton of diverse flavors. Again a hint, although very slight, of dark chocolate and berries. But the influence of a wooden cask is also there as a more pronounced taste of oak comes through. Distinctive legs line the glass and prepare you for a wonderful drinking experience. It is dry enough that you will still be thirsty after the first glass so you will be more than obliged to have a second. A slightly acidic taste yet a smooth velvety finish help to reveal true quality.
Now, Sicilian wines are known to be satisfying. Most, if not all Sicilian wines share a bold, heavy handed quality that calls for hearty dishes. In this case, we paired it with some homemade ravioli, a gift from my son and his wife, for our anniversary. The meal was a treat, and the wine fit in perfectly. I couldn’t resist the temptation to lift the glass up to the light to give it the proper adoration it so deserved. While I think it paired well here, it would also go well with beef and lamb, grilled preferably, so that the taste and texture of the meat does not get lost as the wine washes it down.
As for awards, Berliner Wein Trophy gave the 2020 vintage a Gold Medal, while Tasting.com, The Beverage Testing Institute, gave it a Silver with a very respectable 89 points.
The 2018 Vintage was awarded a Gold Medal by Mundus Vini, one of the most important wine competitions in the world.
Personally, I would rate this wine as a real find. So often I will pick a wine simply by the appearance of the label, which in this case I would have done, except that I had never seen it before. This is one that I will go back to time and again.
30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol – 14%
Price – Around $15