Best buys | Wine of the week: Planeta Mamertino 2015

Best buys

Wine of the week: Planeta Mamertino 2015

One of the most captivating wine books I’ve read is Nina Caplan’s The Wandering Vine which explores the footprint the Romans left on the wine growing areas of Europe. Part wine guide, part travelogue, part personal journey and exploration of her Jewish roots, Caplan traces the interest in wine she derived from her late father.

The result is a very individual and highly readable book and a refreshingly different take on the wine world.

It’s left me with a desire to try the wines that have that Roman connection and this is one made by the redoubtable Planeta family who Nina and I both visited in Sicily 18 months ago when she was researching the book.

The wine, which is a blend of nero d’avola and nocera, is named after the Mamertini who were producing it, according to this feature in wine-searcher.com in the 1st century BC. It was described by Pliny and admired by Julius Caesar though I wonder how similar it tasted to the current version which is wonderfully fresh and delicate (13%), almost rose-scented though with some firm tannins underlying it.

I’d drink it with simply grilled lamb with spring veg if you can get hold of some but it’s really delicious on its own.

Planeta says “The small winery is only a few steps from the sea and surrounded by the splendid vines we planted at Cape Milazzo [on the north-east coast of Sicily] The Lucifero Foundation which own the property devotes a portion of the proceeds for Gigliopoli, social, cultural and recreational activities for children in the Milazzo area.”

You can buy it for £19.95 at Great Western Wine or £122.77 for a case of six at The Fine Wine Co

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