Who makes it?
Donnafugata is owned by the Rallo family who started the brand in 1983. No strangers to winemaking, the family have 160+ years experience making wines in Sicily. Historically as Marsala producers. It was only in 1989, however, that the family started to make Moscato di Pantelleria under the Donnafugata label. They have expanded this range and now make three very different versions of this speciality.
As the name suggests, Moscato di Pantelleria is made from Muscat of Alexandria, or Zibibbo. Pantellaria is a small island between Sicily and Tunisia. Undoubtedly, this creates very difficult growing conditions. Hence, bush vines are a common sight in the island’s vineyards. This protects the grapes from the hot Northern African winds and conserves water. As added protection, vineyard owners plant the vines in hollows, or conca. Furthermore, the island’s slopes may require terracing to be able to grow vines.
The average age of the vines that produced the fruit for this wine is 50-60 years. Some vines are 100 years old or even older. Of course, under these conditions, these old, dry grown vines produce a naturally low yield of concentrated flavoured grapes.
How do they make it?
Moscato di Pantelleria comes in different styles, each with its own techniques and regulations. This particular wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel which allows the winemaker to retain those intense fruity aromatics. The result is a sweet style of wine that sits at around 100 – 110 g/L residual sugar.
What does it taste like?
The first aromas that lift from the glass is the sublime perfume of roses and lemon. That lemon then takes on a lemon balm herbal twist and then the peach, smoke and cinnamon comes through. It is full bodied and just as intensely flavoured as it is fragrantly perfumed. Despite this hedonistic headiness, it is not single minded at all. It has layers of complexity too.
The Kabir is undeniably sweeter in style. However, it is impeccably balanced. That is thanks in part to the fresh sherberty acid that starts from the first sip to the long, long length of lemon peel and spice. There is also plenty of smoky minerality and a distinct pepperiness to offset the sweetness. This gives the wine a savoury edge.
What to drink it with?
This is a very elegant wine for fruity, nutty desserts. It may be a bit of a surprise, but the locals also drink this wine with the local delicacy – Sardines. The Kabir’s sweetness provides a foil for the fish’s saltiness. As does the wine’s citrus, and smoky overtones.
Salty blue cheese or even some fresh cheeses. Try chevre.
Quickie review « A dessert wine that is certainly not your usual sweetie. Spicy, rose petal floral & lemon scented herbs all at once. »
Country of Origin: Moscato di Pantelleria, Italy
Tasting Date: July 2021
Price: UK £30 | €20
Drink: now – 5 years
Needs food: no
Like the sound of this wine, you might like to try Donnafugata Bell’Assai Vittoria DOC Frappato Sicilia and the Donnafugata Mille e una Notte.
Visit donnafugata.it for more information