Tasca d’Almerita Chardonnay 2018


“The 2018 Chardonnay Vigna San Francesco mixes both savory and sweet with a bouquet of sugar-dusted almonds and spice, giving way to a more refined display of dried flowers and ripe pear. It’s deeply textural, fleshing out across the palate in silky waves, only to be reeled back in by a mix of brisk acids and citrus-tinged minerals. A salty tension resonates, along with notes of sour melon and green apple, further amplifying the 2018’s youthful poise. Nearly a minute goes by while hints of custard and hazelnut linger on. This is a beautiful effort that will only get better after a few years in the cellar. Drinking window: 2022-2029. 92+ points

There are many large producers in Sicily, each working with a vast selection of grape varieties, terroir and multiple wineries from north to south and from east to west, but of all of them, only a handful stand out for upholding a high level of quality and consistency across the entire brand. Tasca d’Almerita ranks among them. The company can trace its winemaking roots back almost two centuries, but it was only in the 1970s and 1980s that Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita began to push the limits of what Sicilian wine was thought capable of. At the turn of the last century, the current generation set their sights on expanding the firm into new regions throughout the entire Island, which today has resulted in four separate, self-contained wineries, all operating under Tasca d’Almerita’s core principles: Tascante on Mount Etna’s north slope, Capofaro on the island of Salina, where the focus is on Malvasia, Sallier de La Tour in Monreale, which is home to the new Syrah La Monaca project, and Tenuta Whitaker, like an island that time forgot on Sicily’s west coast. Each produces a unique set of wines that speak very much of place. I think that what impresses me most about the Tasca portfolio is the high level of quality throughout. It’s not uncommon for such a large brand to make a small number of excellent wines from their best sources, yet allow the rest of their production to be substandard, but that’s not the case here. Whether it was the formidable flagship Rosso del Conte from the Regaleali estate, the single-vineyard Rampante from Etna or the value-oriented Bianco Regaleali, each performed well above their price points. You’ll find indigenous varieties, Italian varieties and international ones, yet only planted within a terroir where they excel; and while Tasca doesn’t fear the use of new oak, it is applied judiciously, used to elevate, not get in the way of the wines. When all is said and done, exploring Sicily through Tasca d’Almerita would be both an educational and a highly enjoyable experience.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (06/21)

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