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.
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!
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.
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.World class!
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.