The Donnafugata winery located in Marsala, Sicily, produces a wide array of wines made from indigenous and international varieties. We review selected recent releases below. They include several refreshing, light white wines made from autochthonous varieties like Grillo, Zibbibo, and Catarrato. Also reviewed are two excellent wines made from international varieties. These wines offer a touch of sunny Sicily in the glass. They also remind us of our visit to Donnafugata’s historic cellars in Marsala. Read more about the wines of Sicily in our Report # 37 The Wines of Sicily and in our recently published Special Report #51 The Best Indigenous Wines of Sicily.
Donnafugata winery is owned by the Rallo family and was launched in 1983 with a focus on table wines. It is located in the town of Marsala [see map below] and sources grapes, both indigenous and international, from its 270 hectare vineyard at Contessa Entellina and 68 acres of Zibibbo vineyards on the island of Pantelleria. The winery follows modern and environmentally responsible viticultural prices and produces high quality wines, often blending international and indigenous varieties. The winery has taken the lead in resuscitating some of Sicily’s “relic” varieties like Nocera, Vitrarolo and Alzano. Its Zibbibo holdings include non-grafted vines more than 100 years old. We encourage readers interested in knowing more about Donnafugata’s wines to visit their web site. www.donnafugata.it
Importer: Folio Fine Wine Partners, Napa CA
Donnafugata 2014 Sur Sur Grillo Sicilia DOC ($23) 88 This is a crisp, bright refreshing wine that’s fun and easy to drink, great for sipping on a hot summer day and a perfect accompaniment for simply prepared, fresh fish. Not complicated but attractive nonetheless.
Donnafugata 2014 Lighea Zibbibo Terre Siciliana IGT ($23) 90 Zibbibo is the Sicilian name for Muscat of Alexandria, and the fruit for this wine comes from the exotic Mediterranean island of Pantelleria. If Zibbibo is new to many consumers, this wine’s Muscat flavors will seem familiar, and delicious. This wine shows lovely balance with a floral nose that evokes rosewater. It has a soft attack, and a perfumed palate of rosewater and yellow cherries. Delicious just to sip.
Donnafugata 2014 Anthìlia Bianco Sicilia DOC ($17) 89 Bright lemon-lime zest shows on the nose of this vivacious wine, with additional notes of fresh thyme and marjoram on the palate. Its fruit forward citrus character and sparkling acidity call for this wine to be served well chilled and, preferably, to be served with food. It would go well with vegetarian dishes. A blend of Catarratto and Ansonica.
Donnafugata 2010 Chiarandà Contessa Entellina DOP ($45) 90 With a yellow straw color, this Chardonnay reveals a nose of chamomile and honeysuckle. It has a soft, lush attack and ripe orchard fruit flavors with a touch of honey. The oak inflluence is subtle.
Donnafugata 2010 Tancredi Sicilia Rosso IGP ($45) 91 This blend of Nero d’Avola and Cabernet Sauvignon offers a delicious drinking experience. A nose of cracked pepper and dark fruit leads to soft, lush and layered flavors of black currant, chocolate shavings, and a hint of violet. Firmly structured.