New Customers Save $20 off $100+* with code AUGUSTNEW
New Customers Save $20* with code AUGUSTNEW
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Donnafugata Mille e una Notte 2005
Deep red. Reticent nose hints at blackberry and black pepper, with a slight hint of volatile acidity. Sweet and spicy on the palate, showcasing black pepper, licorice and mineral flavors. Seems slightly less dense than previous vintages, with the acid, tannin and fruit components not yet in perfect harmony. Perhaps best today on the persistent, savory finish. This will undoubtedly improve in bottle, but I doubt it will reach the same heights as the superb 2003 or 2004.
The estate’s top red is the 2005 Contessa Entellina Mille e Una Notte, a Nero d’Avola based blend bursting with dark blueberries, violets, smoke, earthiness and minerals. The wine reveals notable depth and richness in a full-bodied style. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2015. This is a very strong showing from Donnafugata and the Rallo family. The wines this year show notable balance and class.
Donnafugata grew out of the commitment of a family in Sicily that has always believed in the extraordinary enological potential of its land and has 150 years of experience in producing premium wines. Convinced that it is always necessary to be open to change in order to grow and improve, Giacomo Rallo and his wife, Gabriella, launched a new production project in 1983: Donnafugata. Their adventure took wing from the family’s historic cellars in Marsala and the vineyards at Contessa Entellina in the heart of western Sicily and soared as far as the island of Pantelleria.
Their children, José and Antonio, joined them and the house accelerated its march along the path of Extreme Quality: a project that focused on attention to detail, which clears the way for entrepreneurial decisions that ever more advanced objectives. As for the future, the young Gabriella and Ferdinando are already being "fully immersed" in the family’s activities.
A large and diverse wine region in northeastern Italy...
A large and diverse wine region in northeastern Italy, the Veneto is home to a vast array of different styles of wine. With no defining regional characteristics, it can be a bit confusing to the general consumer to parse through its many subzones, but the patient wine lover will find many treasures to be discovered here, typically at wallet-friendly prices. Red and white wines are produced here, with more emphasis on the latter, as well as the ultra-popular sparkling wine Prosecco. The region is sheltered from harsh northern European winters by the Alps, which form its northern border, but the climate is still relatively cool, making the Veneto ideal for white wine production.
Much of Italy’s Pinot Grigio hails from the Veneto, where it can range from neutral and inoffensive to crisp and refreshing. Soave, made primarily from the Garganega grape, has a reputation for producing relatively ordinary, bulk wines, but can be very elegant when yields are carefully monitored, with aromas of lemon, almond, and white flowers. Valpolicella is the region’s best-known red wine, with juicy, tart red cherry flavors derived from the Corvina grape. Recioto and Amarone wines made from dried grapes are a regional specialty and can be very intense, heady, and cerebral.
One grape variety with two very distinct personas...
One grape variety with two very distinct personas, Pinot Gris in France is rich, round, and aromatic, while Pinot Grigio in Italy is simple, crisp, and refreshing. In Italy, Pinot Grigio is grown in the mountainous regions of Trentino, Friuli, and Alto Adige in the northeast. In France it reaches its apex in Alsace. Pinots both “Gris” and “Grigio” are produced successfully in Oregon's Willamette Valley as well as parts of California, and are widely planted throughout central and eastern Europe.
In the Glass
Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity, so full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear, and almond skin. Alsatian styles are aromatic, richly textured and often relatively high in alcohol. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is much more subdued, light, simple, and easy to drink.
Alsace is renowned for its potent food–pork, foie gras, and charcuterie. With its viscous nature, Pinot Gris fits in harmoniously with these heavy hitters. Pinot Grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works better with simple salads, a wide range of seafood, and subtle chicken dishes.
Outside of France and Italy, the decision by the producer whether to label as “Gris” or “Grigio” serves as a strong indicator as to the style of wine in the bottle—the former will typically be a richer, more serious rendition while the latter will be bright, fresh, and fun.