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Senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec has been with Wine Spectator since 1997. She tastes New Zealand wines and California Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc and "other" whites.
MaryAnn Worobiec

A Rustic Red for a Rustic Pasta Dish

Donnafugata Nero d'Avola Sicilia Sedàra 2008

MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: August 13, 2010

Summers in Napa can have a split personality. It can be seriously hot during the day and quite cool at night. Sometimes after the sun sets, the temperature drops 30 degrees from the daytime highs.

So on a chilly July evening, when I met a friend for dinner, movie and some serious catching up, I was craving comfort food. I ordered a rigatoni dish with Bolognese sauce, and we split an order of arancini—fried risotto balls with a tangy marinara sauce. For my wine choice, I went with Donnafugata’s Nero d'Avola Sicilia Sedàra 2008 ($8.50 a glass at the restaurant).

On its own, the Sicilian red seemed a bit coarse, with a hot note on the finish that detracted from the dark fruit and peppery notes. But it was a great pairing for the al dente pasta and meaty ragú; the heat wasn’t apparent and the grapey, fruity notes and peppery and herbal qualities shone. I rated it 85 points, non-blind.

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