His Majesty, the Sicilian Nero d’Avola
Three Nero d’Avola single vineyard
Harmonium is the winning combination of Nero d’ Avola’s strength and Firriato’s style. The goal with Harmonium was to create the “cru of crus” that offered all the manifestations of this eclectic vine’s richness. After 15 years of analysis and microvinification, Firriato identified three different crus in the 165 hectares of the Borgo Guarini Estate: Ferla, Lepre and Beccaccia, cultivating vines from three different Nero d’Avola clones. The complexity of the soil and climate conditions has allowed the different organoleptic characteristics of the three Single Vineyards to be highlighted. The Harmonium grapes are harvested at different times because they ripen at different times. They are vinified separately before being united into the blend behind the story of this iconic label.
Harmonium is the winning combination of Nero d’ Avola’s strength and Firriato’s style. The goal with Harmonium was to create the “cru of crus” that offered all the manifestations of this eclectic vine’s richness. After 15 years of analysis and microvinification, Firriato identified three different crus in the 165 hectares of the Borgo Guarini Estate: Ferla, Lepre and Beccaccia, cultivating vines from three different Nero d’Avola clones.
- Appellation: Sicilia DOC
- Vine: Nero D’Avola
- Terroir: hilly
- Soil: calcareous-slimy
- Exposure: south-east (300 mt. a.s.l)
Borgo Guarini is an eclectic estate with many identities. Three different orders of soil: Entisols, Inceptisols and Vertisols have been identified in this agricultural location. This area is recognised for the complexity of its climate conditions and the variety of its orography.
The Great Sicilian Cuvée
Every Harmonium vintage tells a story which perfectly matches Sicily’s climate trends. The different crus Lepre, Ferla, and Beccaccia with their different soil conditions and microclimates each produce magnificent bunches of Nero d’Avola grapes which perfectly match the characteristics of their different crus of origin. The separate vinification of these grapes causes slight differences in the assembly of the blend from year to year. Sensorial and qualitative analyses are followed intensely in order to determine the best possible balance, giving a wine that is able to express, with just one vine variety, the elegance, strength and pleasure of the great Sicilian reds. Harmonium is historically considered to be a fundamental symbol of high quality, modern Sicilian oenology. It is a label with an authentically elegant personality which comes through in the glass in its impenetrable ruby red colour. It is harmonious and enchanting like the name it carries—the very synthesis of Firriato’s style.
The characteristics of vintages
A Memorable vintage especially thanks to the uniform climate conditions: rainy spring and fresh summer ease slow and gradual ripeness. The particularity of summer is linked to the lack of Sirocco. July does not achieve heat peaks. At the same time marked temperature fluctuations between day and night concern all Firriato’s estates triggering aromas and fragrances development.
Fruitful vintage both for quantity and quality grapes, we achieved “ interesting wines under the aromatic profile point of view”. The harvest lasted until the last week of September. 2013 enabled us to slowly harvest and consequently obtaining more gradual maturation. Date of collection: September.
The growth cycle of the grape, in the period of flowering and fruit set, had a normal course. There weren’t any anomalies during the phases of veraison and ripening. The harvest, for precocious white varieties, started earlier than the previous campaign. Lucifer, Charon and the other African anticyclones this summer have been a godsend for the harvest “an exceptional year in terms of quality.”
The harvest of the Nero d’Avola grapes at Borgo Guarini differs for the three crus from which Harmonium is produced. It began on 31st August with the harvest of the Ferla cru, followed by the Lepre cru on 5th September and ended with the Beccaccia cru on 14th September. The rainfall this year was lower compared to average rainfall values for Sicily and mainly occurred during the spring. The cool temperatures and scarce rainfall had a significant effect on the Nero D’Avola harvest, with a slightly lower yield of grapes.
The harvest of the finest Nero d’Avola grapes began at Borgo Guarini on 14th September. Overall, 2010 saw lower than average rainfall and temperatures, with abundant rainfall at the end of autumn and spring. This favoured a period of rest followed by invigoration of the vines, even though there was a slight delay in bud break and flowering.
The weather conditions were variable in 2009 with abundant rainfall during the winter, evenly spread throughout the spring and plentiful from the middle of September. It was a very unusual year, notable for the low temperatures recorded during one of the coldest winters experienced in the last few years. The summer was warm and dry until the rain arrived at the end of the summer months.
The scarce rainfall and mild temperatures recorded this year did not affect the growth of the vines, which produced healthy, ripe fruit, a small percentage of which was treated with sulphur. The harvest of the Nero d’Avola grapes on the Borgo Guarini estate started on 10th September; the grapes were hand picked thanks to the care and local knowledge of the labourers.
The productivity of the vines fell by 40% this year due to an attack of peronospora, a mould that develops after abundant rainfall, and the strong and persistent sirocco wind. Timely action from those caring for the plants managed to save them and although the yield was lower than in previous years, the grapes ripened perfectly producing sweet, aromatic fruit.
The stable weather conditions resulted in normal and productive vine growth and ripening. Rainfall was plentiful during the winter and spring of this year, supplying the plants with the right amount of water. The summer was fairly hot and muggy, resulting in early ripening of the grapes, thus determining the start of the harvest period, which began on 6th September for the Nero d’Avola grapes. The lack of rain during the month of August caused serious problems in terms of water stress, resulting in a lower grape yield.
The favourable weather conditions of 2005 and the perfect condition of the vines from the previous year resulted in an excellent harvest, perhaps one of the best in recent years. Labourers on the Borgo Guarini estate began hand picking the Nero d’Avola grapes on 12th September: the fruit was perfectly ripe, healthy and juicy, properties imparted by the abundance of rainfall, well distributed over the various seasons, which gave the plants an optimum supply of water.
The production cycle of 2004 proceeded in a regular manner thanks to the presence of copious amounts of rain during the winter, which provided the plants with the water reserves needed for their growth and ripening, subsequent to the high temperatures recorded the year before that had affected production. The spring temperatures were lower than usual with frequent rainfalls, which delayed flowering and put the harvest back to the middle third of September.
The year of 2003 proceeded in a regular fashion with an early harvest on 6th September for the Nero d’Avola grapes thanks to early ripening of the fruit, caused by high summer temperatures that triggered physiological accumulation processes. The growth cycle benefited from abundant rainfall over the winter and a mild climate during the spring. The resulting fruit was ripe and healthy, with great body and soft, enveloping tannins.
Thanks to abundant rainfall during the month of September, which affected the yield of the plants but not the quality of the grapes, 2002 was not one of the best years. The harvest of the Nero d’Avola grapes began on 10th September.
The forecasts for 2001 did not meet expectations in terms of the presumed production: a fairly harsh winter and a hot summer with scarce rainfall caused a decrease in yield of 3.3% compared to the previous year. Thanks to the abundant and constant autumn rain, the wines are distinguished by a good structure and keen identity.
Unseasonal temperatures made 2000 quite a bizarre and unusual year and action had to be taken to safeguard the plants. The winter season proceeded in a regular fashion with abundant rain and, with the arrival of spring, temperatures that resulted in excellent bud break and normal flowering. This was followed by an unusually hot period during the last months of spring, with temperatures usually seen in the summer, followed by rain and winter temperatures at the start of the summer.
The weather conditions were not very favourable, betraying expectations for an excellent year in terms of quality and quantity. The high temperatures recorded were slightly milder in some areas, resulting in excellent fruit ripening. The production was fairly heterogeneous, with an increase of 1.6% compared to the previous year. The harvest of the Nero d’Avola grapes began on 10th September.
It was a year of extremes, with unstable data from one season to the next. The high expectations at the start of the year diminished over the course of the production cycle, but hopes were raised during September and October when the favourable weather conditions resulted in a 13% increase compared to the previous year.
One of the best vintages in the last fifty years was 1997, which benefited from the favourable weather conditions that contributed to an excellent yield per vine and gave protection from parasite attacks. The wine, of the highest quality, contains a slightly higher sugar content compared to previous years. In terms of quantity, a smaller amount was produced but it met the quality requirements defined for Firriato’s wines.
Bibenda: 5 Clusters
Vini Buoni d’Italia: 4 Stars
Luigi Veronelli: 3 Red Stars
Wine International Report: 92 pts
James Suckling: 91 pts
The Tasting Panel: 91 pts
Vinous: 91 pts.
Falstaff: 91 pts
Falstaff Trophy Nero d’Avola: 90 pts
Wine Spectator: 90 pts
Gambero Rosso: 2 Red Glasses
Luigi Veronelli: 3 Red stars
Bibenda: 4 Red clusters
Wine Spectator: 90 pts.
Annuario dei Migliori Vini Italiani: 98 pts. – The best Italian Red
Bibenda: 4 red clusters
Luigi Veronelli: Super 3 Stars
Gambero Rosso:2 Red glasses
Gambero Rosso: 2 Red glasses
Annuario dei Migliori Vini Italiani: 97 pts
Robert Parker: 91 pts
Gambero Rosso: 2 red glasses – finalist 3 glasses
Annuario dei Migliori Vini Italiani: 96 pts
Bibenda: 4 clusters
Wine Enthusiast: 91 pts
Bibenda: 4 clusters
Annuario dei Migliori Vini Italiani:97 pts. – Miglior Vino Rosso d’Italia
Gambero Rosso :3 Red glasses
La Guida ai Vini – Giornale di Sicilia:5 Stars
Gambero Rosso: 3 Glasses
Robert Parker: 91 pts.
Conccours Mondial de Bruxelles:Golden Medal
Gambero Rosso e Slow Food: 3 Glasses
Veal, Bay Leaf and Cinnamon Stew
Peel the potatoes and cut in half, and roughly chop the spring onions. In a casserole dish put the potatoes, spring onions, meat and add and the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, half a glass of water and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the lid checking it is sealed well.