I sometimes think that I am the only blogger I know that has not written about this lauded winery. It is because, I only write about wines that I encounter, which may explain the myriad of wines that I write about. I normally try to write in a somewhat chronological sequence of wines, but for a while, all bets are off, but it should still work. One of my cast of characters is The Wine Raconteur, Jr. (a name that he gave himself) and he and his family went to the old country for a vacation, as he watched his parents, his wife and children reacquaint themselves with Sicily gave me a bottle of wine that he made sure was not being exported to the States. The name of the winery is a very romantic take on the novel Il Gattopardo, and “Donna in fuga” is basically “woman on the run” about Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples, who escaped to Sicily ahead of Napoleon’s army in the early 1800’s and the wineries are basically on what was her estate at one time.
Donnafugata is a wine company based in Sicily, by the Rallo family who have a history of winemaking going back to the 19th Century. Donnafugata was established in 1983 by Giacomo and Gabriella Rallo and is now in the hand of their children. They have five different wineries located in different sub-regions of Sicily, including on the neighboring island of Pantelleria. The wineries use both indigenous varieties and international favorites and they produce both DOC and IGT wines, because of the grapes that they grow. They have about three-hundred-thirty-eight hectares of vineyards between the islands of Sicily and Pantelleria.
I am going to discuss Donnafugata Etna Rosso DOC Contrada Marchesa 2018 and the first vintage of this wine was 2017. The wine is pure Nerello Mascalese and grows on the northern slope of Mt. Etna at Castiglione di Sicilia at around 750m above sea level on lava soil, rich in minerals. This vineyard is about two hectares in size, with some vines about eighty-years of age. The fruit is manually harvested and the fruit goes through further selection on a vibrating table and destemmer to only select ripe berries. Fermentation and maceration on the skins is for about twelve days in Stainless Steel. Then aging for fourteen months in French Oak and an additional twenty-two months or so in bottle, before being released for retail. The label represents a volcano-goddess adorned with jewels, flowers and fruits, as well as the village of Castiglione di Sicilia. The wine is described as a light-ruby-red with notes of red fruits, balsamic, rosemary and thyme and some cinnamon. On the palate tones of raspberry and cherry, great balance and a fine tannic texture with finishes with a long count of the volcanic terroir. The winery feels that it will age for at least ten years. A wonderful gift, and now I have to figure out a special dinner and occasion to make it totally magical.