As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the reason that I have not been posting as frequently as usual is that I have been working on designing a wine list for a restaurant that is soon to open. I have been considering a vast array of unique, and at times unfamiliar, wines from around the world, searching for that perfect combination of quality and individuality. This has led me to some very intriguing options, some I’ve talked about on the site and others I have yet to cover. One of the varietals that has impressed me the most lately that I have never talked about before is the Sicilian grape, Frappato.
Found almost exclusively in Sicily, Frappato produces some wonderfully elegant reds with concentrated flavors delivered in a light bodied frame. Almost similar to Pinot Noir or Gamay, this grape can be found on its own or blended with the bold, concentrated varietal, Nero d’Avola in the wines of Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Nero d’Avola is a hearty, full flavored varietal that has become one of Sicily’s best known grapes and it is commonly found bottled alone, but when combined with the softer, more delicate Frappato the end result strikes a perfect synergy of balance and complexity.
Although Nero d’Avola is by no means a household name, it is still a varietal that is somewhat well known and easy to find in well stocked wine stores. So today I wanted to focus on Frappato instead, showing off what this little known varietal is capable of when bottled on its own (today’s first wine) and when blended with its more famous sibling Nero d’Avola (our second wine).
Wine #1: Azienda Agricola Cos 2009 Sicilia Frappato IGT
Concord grape, soft tones of juicy raspberries, and figs show at first on the nose. Delicate kitchen spices, floral tones, and almost a candied citrus note also emerge with hints of violet and lavender in the background.
Fresh, vibrant, floral and juicy on the palate, this wine has a mild acidity, highlighted by notes of strawberry and raspberry, and a pleasant undertone of spice. Extremely delicate, dusty tannins give its light body dimension and structure. Showing impressive complexity, depth, and finesse, this is a multi-layered and very clean wine that packs tons of flavor into a delicate and feminine frame.
Worth Buying. 91 points.
Wine #2: Valle Dell’Acate 2008 Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG
Concentrated cherry tones appear initially on the nose with a woodsy quality showing just as strongly. Notes of potpourri, dried hibiscus, chocolate, and coffee grounds also make an appearance, mingling with a foresty herbal quality. Extremely multidimensional and complex, this wine is very enticing.
The palate is ripe and bright with fresh cherry and red berry tones, hints of dried potpourri, and forest floor. Herbal tones and notes of dried orange peel also appear before giving way to a woodsy finish. Fresh and vibrant with a delicate tannin structure, this is an excellently balanced wine that impresses all around.
Worth Buying. 92 points.
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The Grapevine: What’s your experience with Sicilian wine?