A Sicilian Treasure: 2007 Gulfi Nerobufaleffj

Sicily is a rich, beautiful island with a long history and amazing wine. Today we will take a closer look at the 2007 Gulfi Nerobufaleffj.

Nero d’Avola is not only Sicily’s most widely planted grape variety, it is without a doubt also the island’s most famous grape. Pretty much every Sicilian winery makes at least one Nero d’Avola based wine but rarely does a winery specialize in making Nero d’Avola wines because international grapes like Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay are finding great growing conditions in Sicily and these wines tend to sell well, especially in foreign markets.

Nevertheless, Nero d’Avola remains the King of Sicily. Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, is Sicily’s only DOCG title. Another important wine growing region for Nero d’Avola is centered around the Sicilian town Pachino. This area is called Val di Noto and Pachino DOC is one of the island’s most prestigious DOC titles. The Val di Noto, which includes ancient cities like Ragusa, is an UNESCO world heritage.

Ragusa

The city of Ragusa in the Val di Noto. Credits: Bert Kaufmann. License: CC BY-NC 2.0

Gulfi is different than most other wineries because they have specialized in producing top notch Nero d’Avola wines. The large majority of their wines are all varietal Nero d’Avola and even though they also grow a few other grapes, Gulfi is best known for those single-vineyard Nero d’Avola wines which are Nerojbleo, Nerobaronj, Neromaccarj, Nerosanlore and Nerobufaleffj.

In the past, I have reviewed some of those on Vino in Love including NeroBaronj and Nerojbleo. Last month, I saw a bottle of 2007 Gulfi Nerobufaleffj in a local wine shop and I just had to buy it. This was a particular good vintage for Nerobufaleffj and given that the current vintage is 2009 I was quite surprised that the wine store still had one bottle of Nerobufaleffj. Of course, I bought the bottle. It was thankfully fairly reasonably priced at €36.

I opened the wine at the end of July with a couple of friends. Before I get to the tasting notes let me say this: It’s a Wow, Wow, WoW wine!

2007 Nerobufaleffj

Nerobufaleffj is produced with 100% Nero d’Avola which are sourced from the Bufaleffi vineyard. The vineyard is located in Pachino’s Val di Noto. It is 2.5 hectares in size and just 50 meters above sea level.

Even though Nerobufaleffj would classify as Pachino DOC, Gulfi chooses to use the larger Sicilia IGT appellation for almost all of its wines.

Nerobufaleffj undergoes a long maceration before the fermentation process which takes place in steel tanks. The wine then matures for 18 months in French tonneaux.

The wine was decanted for one and a half hours before pouring the glasses.

2007 Gulfi Nerobufaleffj Siclia IGT

Nerobufaleffj had bright ruby red in the glass. The label-indicated ABV was 14%.

Wonderful, complex, harmonious nose. It opens with ripe black cherries, eucalyptus and blackcurrant and blueberries. Soon followed by some tobacco, nutmeg and vanilla. As the wine kept evolving, licorice and even hints of coffee become present.

In the mouth, very full-bodied, dry and highly complex. Very vivid with an excellent sapidity. Nerobufaleffj is sophisticated Nero d’Avola that comes with flavors of ripe forrest fruit, lots of dark chocolate and espresso. They recall some of the aromas of the nose. Nerobufaleffj is perfectly balanced, round and has smooth tannins. Lingering aftertaste.

5 / 5 stars      
 World class!

Parting Words

If you get the opportunity, then try Nerobufaleffj, preferably 2005 or 2007 vintage. The new 2009 vintage is also very good but it needs some more time and so far it is no match for the 2007 vintage. Gulfi keeps amazing me with its stunning, world class Nero d’Avola.

I have a bottle of 2005 Nerobaronj left in the cellar which I am particularly looking forward to open some day. These wines age very well. Because Gulfi is smaller and to some extent lesser known than those large producers like Cusumano, Planeta and Firriato it might be more difficult to find these wines abroad.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Gulfi wines if you’ve tasted any of them before.

Cheers!

12 comments on “A Sicilian Treasure: 2007 Gulfi Nerobufaleffj”

  1. Andy Andy Reply

    Love that photo of Ragusa! Never been to that part of Sicily but I’d really want to go there if I only could!! Haven’t had this wine yet so can’t really comment on it. Gulfi is only scarcely available here.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      I’ve been to Sicily before but never made it to Ragusa either. It’s on my list of places I want to see though.
      If you buy any Gulfi wines I’d love to hear how you like them.
      Cheers!

  2. talkavino Reply

    surprisingly, 2009 is available (albeit scarcely) in US, at around $45. Your 5 star rating definitely makes this wine worth seeking…

      • talkavino Reply

        Thanks, Julian. K&L doesn’t show any availability for this wine. Also, while 2009 might not be as good as 2007, I think it would be still interesting to try.

        Cheers!

  3. hannah-theis hannah-theis Reply

    Nice post, Julian. I looked on winesearcher for the Nerobuffalleffi but it is not available in Canada 🙁 Seems like you Europeans don’t let the good stuff get out of the country.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Michelle! Would love to know what you think about the Nerobufaleffj 🙂
      Anatoli of Talk a Vino said the new 2009 vintage is available in the US for about $45.
      Cheers!

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