Posted on 29.05.20 Wine of the Week

#WOTW: an organic rosé that’s full of Sicilian sunshine

The sun is shining, the forecast is fine, so this weekend, it has to be rosé. Or rather, rosato. I’m opting for an Italian pink, aiming for the treble: combining one of my favourite places, a cherished grape and a producer whose wines I always seem to love.

The place is Sicily, an island that’s easily big enough to be a country in its own right. It gets really hot, but growers make the most of the Mediterranean breezes and a bit of altitude to cool things down. Sicily’s wine scene has changed beyond all recognition in recent decades: where once it was all about cheap ‘bulk’ wine, now there’s a real focus on its exciting indigenous grape varieties. 

Frappato is one such example, producing light, perfumed and seductive red wines. Often blended with the darker, brooding spice of Nero d’Avola, it is increasingly celebrated in its own right, but Rosa di Santa Tresa 2019 (Majestic Wine £9.74 on a Mix Six, or £12.99 for a single bottle) is a 50/50 blend of both varieties.

Sicily is a good place to farm organically, thanks to those warm winds keeping the bugs at bay. Feudo di Santa Tresa has been making organic wines for almost two decades, under the watchful eye of its founder Stefano Girelli (more about him here), hailing from the mainland, but a real champion of the island’s native grapes. 

The Italians I know always seem somewhat indifferent, even a bit snobbish, about rosé wine, but I am certain that this delicious wine would win them over. The Frappato brings a floral lift and there’s lovely bright, refreshing red cherry fruit. It’s a richer salmon pink than Provence rosé, but the colour – which comes from a short, gentle ‘maceration’ with the grape skins – is actually quite restrained, compared with most Italian rosato. It tastes bone dry, with some delicious texture from contact with the lees (spent yeast cells from the fermentation), making it an excellent match for food, if you haven’t already quaffed it as an aperitivo.

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