2008 Feudo Maccari Saia Nero d’Avola, $30
Woody and raw on the nose, with a harshness that obscures attractive spice and herb tones. A touch of rounded sweetness on entry gives it an almost opulent feel. There’s some nice, powerful raw materials here and the wine does exhibit a fine combination of power, balance, elegance and focus; but it’s all constrained by the heavy-handed overlay of oak. The finish is all wood tannins. A nice wine that has lost vibrancy, clarity and typicity, resulting in what appears to be a very clumsy effort. Still, people who enjoy oak more than I do will find much to like here. 88pts

2009 Marabino Noto Nero d’Avola, $20
Big, jammy raspberry aromas have a nice tea tone to them. Round and lush in the mouth with lots of black fruit tones. A wine that will be called sexy. The fruit is supported by zesty acids and fine ripe tannins that help add some detail to the core of creamy, slightly thick bitter cherry/black raspberry fruit. The acids clear out the fruit on the modest length. 88pts

2009 Valle dell’Acate Il Moro Nero d’Avola, $20
Clean and fresh on the nose with nice layered notes of burnt citron peel, mint, stemmy floral tones and a nice hint of white soil. Nice, medium weight in the mouth with an initial rush of black cherry fruit that is nicely balanced with finely managed tannins and well-integrated acidity. There’s a touch of spice here and good length on the palate with some modest inner mouth aromatics. A solid, if slightly uninspired, offering. 88pts

2010 Centopassi Nero d’Avola Argille di Tagghia Via, $20
Cinnamon toast on the nose, with a little buttery underlay and very clear top notes of herb and mineral that rise above the building core of black cherry fruit. A bit extracted on the palate with nice cherry skin fruit up front and decent mineral cut on the mid-palate. The mid-palate lacks a little lift and while very broad, it’s a bit hollow as well. The finish is a touch stronger with nice ripe fruit tannins offering a push to the persistent fruit. This is a bit lean but it may flesh out somewhat in the bottle. 87pts

2009 Pupillo Re Federico Nero d’Avola, $20
Graham cracker on the nose with nice notes of cranberry and rhubarb fruit, accented with a touch of cactus. Seamless in the mouth but at the same time a little detail-less, with nice black cherry/black raspberry fruit that’s topped by hints of fresh herbs and eucalyptus. This does sort of sneak up on you though, in a slightly clumsy, extracted way; but it’s friendly and enjoyable. 87pts

2008 Valle Dell’Acate Il Moro Nero d’Avola, $20
Intensely raspberry jam-scented with hints of stemmy herbs and pencil lead. This is big and bright in the mouth. The fruit has a lovely sweet/sour dynamic and fresh raspberry tones, but the wine suffers from being a bit too big, leaving one struck by the wine’s texture and low intensity of its flavors. The fruit turns a bit candied on the back end before disappearing on a modest finish. This may improve in the bottle. 87pts

2007 Terre di Giurfo Kuntari Nero d’Avola, $NA
Wood on the nose with some jammy cherry fruit. Sweet red fruits on entry are supported by nicely-integrated acidity and a core of slightly chewy wood tannins and spice. The fruit is simple, but with good persistence. 87pts

2009 Principi di Butera Riesi Nero d’Avola/Syrah, $25
This smells a bit flinty with a smoky edge to the gentle herbal, candied red cherry fruit. Sweet and fruity on the entry with gently aromatic fruit that’s a bit tight (if simple) on the palate. The finish is fairly long in that fruity vein, with a hint of stemmy tannin on the finale. 86pts

2008 Feudi del Pisciotto Versace Nero d’Avola, $30
Animal and soil-driven on the nose with fine black cherry fruit, framed with suggestions of candied herbs and oregano. A bit slick and thick on entry, then even more extracted on the palate but with plenty of black cherry fruit accented with vanilla and spice notes. This is a bit sticky in the mouth with good persistence to the fruit, but too tenacious a texture. 86pts

2006 Baglio di Pianetto Cembali Nero d’Avola, $30
Oaky and smoky on the nose with some floral top notes and a hint of tea adding some complexity. The red fruited, easy styled mid-palate has a touch of mineral adding some detail and a little spice on the back end that yields to a rather toasty finish that is cut short by the wood tannins. 85pts

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2009 Feudo Principi di Butera Deliella Nero d’Avola, $50
A nice, almost stemmy, fresh forest floral note greets the nose and adds some complexity to the hard black cherry fruit here. Low acid and languid in the mouth with bitter cherry fruit and herb notes on the mid-palate that is broad and chunky, with extracted tannins that obscure the finish. 85pts

2009 Feudo Arancio Nero d’Avola, $10
Jammy and candied on the nose with some light smoke and medicinal accents. Fat and flat in the mouth with indistinct, muddy fruit. The tannins are fresh and have a lightly stemmy quality that I like, but the fruit here is just not that interesting. 84pts

2007 Terre di Giurfo Kudyah Nero d’Avola, $20
Simple but clean nose of cherry juice, with a touch of soil. A bit sweet in the mouth with a fruity cherry palate and a touch of mineral on the finish. A simple, fruity wine. 84pts

2010 Baglio di Pianetto Cembali Nero d’Avola, $35
Rosewater, smoke, dried sausage and toasted almond notes greet the nose. Bright and somehow matte in the mouth with heavy fruit, heavy tannin, woody sweetness and acidity all conspiring to make this well-made wine big, yet characterless. The aromatics seem to indicate there is some hope for future improvement. 84pts

2008 Pupillo Re Federico Nero d’Avola, $20
Sweet baked fruit on the nose. Nice honest feeling. Burnished cherry fruit in the mouth is a bit lean, but it is fresh and clear with a simple, honest expression of earth and fruit that finishes on the short side. 84pts

2008 Planeta Santa Cecilia Nero d’Avola, $35
Smells made. Very floral with white pepper notes and some spicy top notes. At first this appears to be nicely done in the mouth with a savory edge to the slightly muddy fruit on the mid-palate. With air, the savory stemmy tannins become a bit more assertive and offer some cut on the slightly extracted finish. Eh. 83pts

2008 Viticultori Associati Canicatti Aynat Nero d’Avola, $35
Smells downright inky and very woody with some sweet herbal components. Sweet black cherry fruit in the mouth. This is seamless and detail-less with an anonymous core of sweet, oaky black fruits and a heavy, sticky finish. 83pts

2008 Castellucci Miano Nero d’Avola, $15
Sweet, heavy and overblown on the nose, very porty. Big and extracted in the mouth with a hollow mid-palate. Very little flavor and very little to recommend, though no obvious defects. 80pts

2007 Marabino Archimede Riserva Nero d’Avola, $NA
Very herbal and frankly, stemmy on the nose. Flat, hollow and uninteresting in the mouth. 70pts

2008 Feudo Principi di Butera Deliella Nero d’Avola, $NA
Really closed on the nose with suggestions of sulfur and earth. Seamless in the mouth, though painfully closed here as well. Who knows. Just bottled? JR