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Our Wine of the Month #2 for July is a perfect red to brighten up long summer evenings. Its mouth-filling, concentrated fruit & spice flavors and soft texture comes in an eminently drinkable, mid-weight package due to a moderate 13.5% alcohol and uplifting balancing acidity. This is very much worth its modest price, and great if you're looking for a flexible partner for your summer grill-outs: chicken, mushroom, and red bell pepper kabobs; grilled fish with fresh thyme; or peppery skirt steak marinated in orange juice.

The two Sicilian varieties in the mix, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese, are not traditional partners. Winery founders Caruso & Minini are all about showcasing the modern side to the Sicilian wine scene. In fact, there's no classic table wine from their part of Sicily's northwestern tip, which is most famous for Marsala, so the door was wide open for a wine like this.

Nerello Mascalese is a variety famous from the slopes of eastern Sicily's volcano, Mt. Etna, where it makes some of Italy's most respected and sought-after reds. It contributes a significant perfume of darker red fruits (like dark cherry or boysenberry/mulberry) and allspice (or cinnamon, clove, & nutmeg), along with a touch of dried herb, and an embracing texture of tannin and a 'crushed rock' minerality. Frappato, on the other hand, is most commonly grown on the southeastern tip of Sicily. It brings a lighter body and very light tannin, with flavors like cool strawberry and tangy raspberry, subtle baking spice, and gentle white pepper. Those differences complement each other, making this an everyday wine that's definitely not ordinary!
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