Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria DOC 2007
The Rallo family have been involved in wine production in Marsala for over 150 years, but were one of the first families to move into the production of high quality table wine when sales of Marsala started to decline. They have two estates in Sicily: 260 hectares at Contessa Entellina in the hills east of Marsala; and 68 hectares on the island of Pantelleria. Their winery in Marsala is ultra modern, and serves to preserve the flavours obtained in the vineyard. One of the most exciting aspects of Donnafugata is their commitment to Pantelleria, a small, windswept island that is closer to the coast of North Africa than it is to Sicily. Famous for its Moscato, Ben Ryé is a modern take on the classic Moscato Passito di Pantelleria. The name derives from the Arabic ‘Son of the Wind’ after the fragrance-laden wind which sweeps constantly around the island. Made from 100% low, bush trained Zibibbo (Moscato d’Alessandria) vines, planted in the traditional Pantelleria style in hollows in the ground and pruned short. Plant density is approximately 2,500 vines per hectare on very loose, mineral rich soil of volcanic origin. Light gold in colour, the 2006 is beginning to mature beautifully, with the ripe, apricot and peach flavours giving way to a more buttery, honeyed intensity. Dried figs and herbs are starting to come out more on the palate which is rich, sweet and intense. The balance between sweetness and a light, fresh finish prevents the wine from becoming cloying. Rich, dried fruit perfumes last to the finish.
From my online review of Donnafugata Ben Rye 2007 at http://www.dalluva.com/wine-journal/5-italian-wines-that-know-how-to-party/ Off the southern coast of Sicily, smack dab in the middle of the Mediterranean and a stones throw away from rebellious Tunisia lies the tiny, sirocco-swept island of Pantelleria. This island is heavenly to visit on holiday in July and August, but there’s a drying wind that constantly blows late in the fall, desiccating the Zibibbo grape (think Moscato) grown here into nearly raisins. It gets so windy here that the wine producers grow the grapes in low, circular bundles to protect the grappoli (bunches) from being knocked off the vine. This is extreme wine making at its most passionate, and Pantelleria has a long history of making mind-blowing sweet wines. Donnafugata makes about 10,000 bottles of this rare and extraordinary wine, which they named Ben Ryé, from the Arabic “Son of the Wind”. The nose has a whole lot going on, with sweet spices, brown sugar and stone fruits wafting up from the glass. On the palate it’s a kaleidoscope of flavors – apricot, grilled peaches, vanilla, baking spices, and remarkably balanced acidity that makes for a not-too-sweet experience. I drink this as a dessert in itself, but you can pair it with panna cotta, crème brulee, or just dip little almond biscotti in it. If you’re into bleu cheeses, pair them with Ben Ryé. Both the 2007 and 2008 vintages are fantastic, so pick up whichever one you can find. If this wine doesn’t blow you away, I’ll turn in my Sommelier certification.
External Reviews for Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria DOC
Hailing from the volcanic island of Pantelleria on the southern coast of Sicily, where winds are so strong that the grapes dry and shrivel, comes this unctuous delicacy. Viscous and amber in color, the wine gives spicy orange peel notes on the nose, which culminate in an intense and almost fortified quality on the palate.
Food Pairings for Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria DOC
Aged 5 months in Steel.
Aged 6 months in bottle.
Notes: 5 months in stainless steel and least 6 months in bottle
|Alcohol: 14.13%||pH: 3.82|
|Sugar: 203 grams per liter||Total Acidity: 7.16 grams per liter|