Donnafugata part II: Jewels in the rough


From Pantelleria back to Sicily and Marsala. We did not travel to Marsala for the fortified wine but rather to meet up with José Rallo at the Donnafugata winery in Marsala. After a beautiful trip stopping to look at the salt production we got a bit thirsty so a few drops of wine really seemed like fantastic idea.

When I describe Donnafugata in one word I would say refined! The wines are lush, perfectly balanced and flawless, they are spot on. After tasting the real product we got to taste the raw flavours of Sicily – barrel samples with pure raw flavours of the grapes of Donnafugata.

You’re such a jewel in the rough
You wanna show me your stuff… (KISS Ladies room 1976)

Some grapes you know, some might be new and some I’ve only tasted in cuvées – now this is wine nerd heaven, this is tasting raw terrior, this tasting the future – this is exciting. Sometime when I do this I’ll get very selfish wanting these raw wines for myself, getting them bottled as is. Now I don’t think this necessary is a good idea business wise as the buyers would be wine nerds as me – but it would be great – it really would be 🙂

The grapes we tasted was viognier, chardonnay, ansonica, nero d’Avola (both from vats and barriques), merlot, alicante bouschet, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, tannat and petit verdot. This was really, really cool and despite what I just wrote I would love to see a small series wines made with 100 % Nero d’Avola (barriques), 100 % petit verdot, 100 % alicante bouschet and 100 % Ansonica. Now they were still a bit young but with a few years in barrels these would be great wines though rather different from the Donnafugata line. If Donnafugata has a feminine touch these wines, at least the reds, would be a little more masculine.

What ever course is taken these wines shows great promise and gave me a better understanding of Sicily and its grapes, it also gave proof of the high quality and the work in cellar. The Donnafugata line is a labour of love but also a labour experimentation – finding new flavours of Sicily.

A very big thanks to José Rallo for spending the day in Marsala with us and opening up their cellars and sharing the wines.

José Rallo

Today, Monday, the weather is absolutely a disaster; rain, darkness, wind and cold. At such times it’s nice to have warm memories such as this and even better I’ve got a bottle Anthìlia 2011 to enjoy and help me to dream of warmer days.

The wine is made of mainly catarratto but complemented by other varieties grown at Contessa Entellina and nearby vineyards.

The scent has pears, peaches, and minerals mixed with a little heat. It do helps me thinking on the sun, the landscape and good friends.

It has a nice acidity with mellow fruits, melon, peach and sweet pears. There are white flowers and and warm stone. The minerality goes almost towards a saltiness bringing the fruit into place. It’s a well balanced wine with elegance and freshness. I would have this to fish, shellfish, eggplant, or chicken. Really nice, a little bit of Sicily in Sweden!

Magnus Reuterdahl


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