DENOMINATION: Passito di Pantelleria DOC.
GRAPES: Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria).
PRODUCTION AREA: island of Pantelleria (South-Western Sicily); districts of Khamma, Tracino, Mueggen, Serraglia, Gibbiuna, Barone, Martingana, Bukkuram, Favarotta, Punta Karace, Bugeber, Karuscia.
TERRAINS & CLIMATE: altitude from 20 to 400 m a.m.s.l. (65-1,312 ft); complex orography, typically volcanic, soils mainly cultivated on terraced slopes; sandy soils, originating from lava, that vary between sub-acidic and neutral reaction; deep, fertile soils, well-endowed with minerals. Mild, dry winters. Windy summers.
VINEYARD: the vines are cultivated, in hollows, low alberello pantesco. The low bush vine of Pantelleria has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a “creative and sustainable” practice. Planting density of 2,500 plants per hectare (1,000 an acre) with a yield of about 4–5 tons per hectare (1,6-2 tons an acre). The average age of the vines is about 60 years; some are ungrafted and survived phylloxera exceeding 100 years in age.
VINTAGE: after two rather dry vintages, 2018 was a vintage with more rainfall, with 591 mm* of rainfall compared to the average of 460 mm**. The quantity of grapes produced was slightly higher than the last two vintages; cluster thinning was performed in some vineyards to favor optimal ripening of grapes for the Moscato di Pantelleria. *The rainfall data for each vintage are calculated from 1 October to 30 September of the following year; * The rainfall data are calculated from 1 October to 30 September of the following year; **the average is calculated starting from the 2013 harvest.
HARVESTING: manual harvesting of grapes into crates with careful selection of the grapes in the vineyard. The Zibibbo harvest at Donnafugata traditionally continues for about 4 weeks, in the districts where the company has its vineyards that differ in altitude, exposure, proximity to or distance from the sea; the harvest began on 17 August and concluded on 6 September.
VINIFICATION: once the grapes reach the winery, they undergo further selection on a vibrating table before soft pressing. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel at controlled temperatures; the dried grapes – added to the fresh must in several batches – are de-stemmed and selected by hand. During maceration, the dried grapes release their extraordinary legacy of sweetness, freshness and a very personal aroma. The vinification process (fermentation and maceration) lasts over 1 month. Aging takes place in stainless steel for 8 months and at least 12 months in bottle before being released to the market.
ANALYSIS DATA: alcohol 14.30% ABV, total acidity 7.2 g/l, pH 3.82, sugar content: 197 g/l.
TASTING NOTES (15/09/2020): Ben Ryé 2018 offers an extraordinary rich bouquet with outstanding aromas obtained from the dried grapes: apricots and candied orange peel. It presents delicate hints of Mediterranean scrub (maquis). The palate is very fresh and intense, balancing perfectly the sweetness followed by a long and satisfying persistence.
LONGEVITY: over 30 years.
FOOD & WINE: perfect with dry pastries, chocolate and jam or ricotta tarts. Try also with blue cheese and foie gras. Extraordinary on its own, as a meditation wine. Serve it in tulip-shaped goblets of medium size, slightly bellied; uncork at time of serving; excellent at 14°C (57°F). WHEN
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DIALOGUE WITH ART: from the Arabic term "Son of the Wind" because the wind sweeps constantly around the grape clusters on Pantelleria. And the island's winds bring with them a profusion of fragrances so powerful that you can touch them. An author label telling the love, the care and the effort of heroic viticulture on an island unique and fascinating. A fresh and enchanting portrait that reveals its essence.
FIRST VINTAGE: 1989.
Bottled at the origin by the Azienda Agricola DONNAFUGATA S.r.l. - MARSALA - ITALY