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

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2018 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
This entry was posted in Food, Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Sicilia, Sicily. Bookmark the permalink.

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