Sicily has been on my list of places to visit for a long while. I read the memoir "On Persphone's Island" by Mary Taylor Simeti and I was hooked. Later someone on the SlowTalk message board mentioned a cooking school at a winery in Sicily. The winery was Regaleali. They have not only wine tastings but also accomodations and a cooking school conducted by Anna Tasca Lanza. Every so often I dream of visiting and taking the class.
Regaleali is also the maker of my first Sicilian wine. One hot summer, I was drinking Rose wines. I had run out of different French Roses to taste came across a bottle of Regaleali Rose. It was perfect for a warm summer day. Bright with the taste of rasberries.
I found a bottle of the Nero D'Avola by Regaleali and decided to give it a try for Wine Blogging Wednesday #8 - Sicilian Reds tasting selected by Ron at LoveSicily. It is imported by Winebow and is one of the Leonardo LoCascio Selections. I couldn't find the exact wine on the Winebow website and I think it may have originally been called Regaleali Rosso.
There are no tasting notes on the label but if it is the Rosso, there are several tasting notes on the Winebow site. Wine Enthusiast- February 2005 gave it 88 pts and said the following of the Rosso:
"Nice and jammy; the quintessential ripe, easy quaffer. Plenty of black fruit and licorice cover the bouquet, followed by deep plum and black-cherry fruit. The finish is fat, full and continuous. A fine effort for its type."
I was very disappointed with the wine. It was very tight when I opened it and I could taste a little amount of the fruit over the alcohol. I let it sit open while I cooked dinner and it improved a little bit. It was fine with the food but did not 'Wow' me. I would not buy it again.
But the dinner was a great success. I wanted to make a sicilian influenced dish. One idea was to make a pasta with eggplant and tomatoes but I really didn't have time to prepare the eggplant. But what about Swordfish? I needed a sauce that would use sicilian ingredients. A little cruising on Epicurious and I found Swordfish Stemperata; a sauce of green olives, onion, raisins, capers and mint. Perfect.
What was not so perfect was for Comcast to have DNS issues just when I tried to get back online to print the recipe. I knew the ingredients but not the proportions or how to cook. I decided to just improvise and it worked. G loved it and is still raving about it. I only used a little bit of mint - maybe a tablespoon and it didn't overwhelm the dish or the wine. I pan fried the swordfish steaks and spooned the sauce on the side. I also served a salad of cucumber, tomato, onion and feta. A nice Mediterranean break.