From my online review of Donnafugata Ben Rye 2008 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 Rye Passito di Pantelleria Italy
Complex and ample sweet wine with an outstanding freshness. On the nose intense notes of apricot and peach followed by sweet sensations of dried figs and honey, aromatic herbs and mineral notes.
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 Rye Passito di Pantelleria Italy
The wine displays its extraordinary personality and depth in its bright amber colour. After the first, intense notes of apricot and peach, come sweet sensations of dried fig, honey, herbs and mineral notes. Impressive on the palate with an outstanding complexity due to a fusion of sweetness, tastiness and softness. A prolonged finish.