Donnafugata: color, passion and great Sicilian wines
By Marina La Forgia
The wines of Donnafugata do not go unnoticed. Their careful and colorful aesthetics, added to a constant and sustained quality over the years have made them a "classic" for the Québec market. Univins, visionary and prestigious agency that represents them since a few months, has decided to push these great Sicilian wines even to a higher level, offering a complete press tasting of its most emblematic wines.
It has been a while that I am personally interested in wines from islands where the volcanic contribution makes these lands and soils unique places for the cultivation of vines. Having attended this tasting was then a great opportunity to continue learning about this type of terroir, but especially to see how great the Donnafugata wines are. This winery has pure family character and it is owned by the Rallo's, innovative winemakers and pioneers in producing excellent wines in Sicily. Its vineyards and wineries are distributed between Marsala, Contessa Entellina and the tiny and unique island of Pantelleria. All this wine region is wrapped in the magic of the volcano Etna, which brings such a particular character to the wines.
Presented here in Montreal by Antonio Rallo, visionary winemaker and today also a reference of Italian wine in the world (he is president of AOC Sicilia and Unione Italiana Vini), we were able to taste with him all this Sicilian essence with wines very well achieved and with labels that make you fall in love.
Here, my favourites:
Anthilia 2015 Sicilia DOC
SAQ Price: $ 17,45
A fresh and seductive white produced mainly with Catarratto grape. It is an interesting wine to discover. On the nose it is purely fruity with notes of apricot and pear. In the mouth it has a caramelized and refreshing finish at the same time. A subtle acidity and mineral touch that gives it a very particular character.
Sherazade 2015 Sicilia DOC
SAQ Price: $ 19.95
A classic Sicilian Nero d'Avola. In nose it overflows with notes of red fruit, plums, mint and tobacco. In the mouth it is round, intense, enveloping. The Nero d'Avola variety is delicate, which, well worked as in this case, gives very elegant wines.
These two first wines are of a style thought by the winery to enjoy, young and unstructured. But the tasting also included 3 verticals of its most emblematic wines: Tancredi (2006-2008-2012), Mille and Una Note (1995-2008-2011) and Ben Rye (2008-2011-2014).
From the first vertical tasting I highlight the 2006. A wine with a magnificent evolution, and still much to offer. The Tancredi line is a series of great wines with Mediterranean character, made with local and international varieties. The Tancredi 2006 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Nero d'Avola overflowing itself 11 years later ...
At the SAQ is available the 2012 harvest at $ 32.50 and is also a blend of the same two varieties.
The Mille e Una Note 1995 is a true elixir, those that are unforgettable. With an impeccable evolution, it is a wine that gives us notes of ripe fruit very pleasant, an acidity still refreshing and a unctuous and forceful final. In Quebec only the 2011 harvest is available ($ 79.50) , which I think is equally promising. We are here in front of a collection of wine icons from the winery, the purest Italian excellence.
Such is the case also of the Ben Rye, coming from Pantelleria, unique island of land, windy and cradle of the best sweet wines (passito) elaborated with the Zibibbo (Moscatel de Alexandria). The 3 harvests I tasted offer the expected characteristics of these wines, but it is particularly the 2014 that has captivated my palate: an elixir of white fruits: kinoto, peach, apricot and dates. A delicious wine with a sweet, delicate and elegant finish. A product to discover and to adopt, without a doubt! The 2014 harvest is available in the SAQ at $ 33.50.