Planeta Nero d’Avola Wines: A Visit to Sicilian Wine Regions in Your Glass – James Melendez

I always anticipate and enjoy all of the wines I get to taste from Planeta.

I was invited along with other wine writers in the Bay Area to pair stellar food from A16 in Oakland and Planeta’s Nero D’Avola’s from their Noto, Menfi, Vittoria and Capo Milazzo sites.  This was a very important tasting simply because Nero D’Avola is not given it’s credit the way it should be given.  Nerello Mascalese from Etna DOC steals the show–yes handsome wines no doubt but Nero D’Avola is a gorgeous wine that deserves considerable praise and attention.  I am not suggesting that Nero D’Avola is no longer a favourite variety but I would love to hear people talk more about this variety and more importantly drink them.  I distinctly remember the first Nero D’Avola I tasted (just in the 2000s) and it was a moment that lasted long after my first taste: it was haunting and something I still think about today.

And I think over time Nero D’Avola will be top of mind once again–it is a hauntingly beautiful wine that has the capacity to linger pleasantly so.  This tasting was so nice to taste of different styles and sites and to taste older vintages (I never get to experience this ever).

There are two A16 restaurants one in San Francisco and the other in Rockridge (Oakland)–I always hope to not cross a bridge to get a restaurant but A16 Rockridge is such a nice setting–nicely appointed and comfortable restaurant (San Francisco is a mainly a left-right restaurant town–meaning there is a left side and there is a right side to the restaurant’s floor plan).  The Rockridge restaurant is not a typical San Francisco left/right restaurant… I digress.  It was a perfecting setting for this experience.






Alessio Planeta and Shelley Lindgren, A16 Wine Director

Alessio Planeta gave the MasterGlass (great name to talk about the wines and the specific Nero d’Avola glasses) and it was nice to see him again and hear talk about his families vineyards and wines.

Riedel Nero d’Avola wine glass







Specifications of the Riedel Nero d’Avola Glass








Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2015 








This wine is 60% Nero d’Avola, 40% Frappato; 13% ABV

Nose of cherry, rose petal, leather and cardamom; palate of sour cherry/mountain strawberry, and Cardamom.


Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria Dorilli 2015








This wine is 70% Nero d’Avola, 30% Frappato; 13% ABV

Nose: cherry, crushed dried roses, cedar and anise.

Palate: red cherry, pomegranate, anise, cinnamon/spice finish.


Planeta Mamertino 2015

This is such a beauty with a composition of 60% Nero d’Avola, 40% Nocera; 13% ABV – Nocera, a rare variety and adds such a loveliness to this wine.

Nose of red roses, fleshy red-black cherry, deciduous forrest and spice box.

Palate of pomegranate, first of season red cherry, pepper and allspice.


Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2013








100% Nero d’Avola; 13.5% ABV

Nose: red cherry, pomegranate, leather and underbrush

Palate: early season cherry, mountain strawberry, allspice, and hint of clove.


Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2007








100% Nero d’Avola; 14% ABV

Nose: Rose petal, sour cherry, plum, and freshly ground spices.

Palate of mountain strawberry, violets, pepper and Bay leaf.


Planeta Noto Santa Cecilia 2005








100% Nero d’Avola; 14% ABV

Yes, Nero d’Avola ages remarkably, beautifully.  I love so many aged wines–and I wonder what older Nero d’Avolas might taste like.  In 2005, I began my journey to being an off-premise wine marketing manager at a larger US wine retailer–so wonderful to pair parts of one’s life with a wine.

Nose on this wine is of Italian black cherry, suede, red pepper, and allspice.

Palate is sour cherry, dried red rose petals, Bay leaf and Hoisin.


A16 produces stellar food and this special lunch truly honed in on Sicilian fare.  Such a spectacular lunch–rarely do I ever have a nice lunch like this in the US (certainly do in Europe).

Glorious pizza with clams and tomatoes

Quentessential Sicilian dish – Polpette

Potato Salad






Squid Ink pasta







Penne Pasta

Cannoli – the best this side of Sicily

Pignoli Cookie and other Sicilian sweets (I have not been able to replicate baking the Pignoli cookies but I keep trying)

I have calendared Nero d’Avola so that I taste this remarkable wine more often.  I love this remarkable grape and the dazzling wines with such a wonderful variation.

I recommend this wine to add to your wine tasting plans and seek out Planeta Nero d’Avola’s–ask your wine merchant to bring some in if you can’t find any right away in your marketplace.  Start your Nero d’Avola memories soon.

Planeta Wines


5356 College Ave

Oakland, CA 94618



James the Wine Guy

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About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
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