DONNAFUGATA is an estate winery based in Marsala on the island of Sicily, and which also has vines on the island of Pantelleria. Wines are bottled under the Contessa Entellina DOC, Etna DOC, Moscato di Pantelleria DOC and Passito di Pantelleria DOC.
OWNERS | The Rallo family, José Rallo and her [sic] brother Antonio (5th generation). Their parents are Giacomo and Gabriella Rallo. It was Gabriella who inherited the vines in western Sicily in the 1970s and she gave up a teaching career to become a wine-grower, donning trousers and going into the field to direct her (often) male vineyard workers, something unheard of at the time. As for Giacomo Rallo, his side of the family began producing Marsala in 1851 (he is the 4th generation).
THE NAME | Donnafugata translates as ‘woman in flight’ or ‘fugitive woman’, the woman in question being Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples and Sicily (sister of Marie-Antoinette). In 1799 to avoid the Republican French troops who had invaded in 1796 under General Napoleon Bonaparte she fled to this part of western Sicily where the Rallo family’s vineyards are now located. It was Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa who first called this area Donnafugata in his novel The Leopard (published posthumously in 1958).
CONTESSA ENTELLLINA VINEYARDS | Near Sambuca di Sicilia. Includes the Vigna di Gabri vineyard (see below).
ETNA VINEYARDS | Vineyard purchases here from 2016.
VITTORIA VINEYARDS | Vineyard purchases here from 2016.
Harvest starts at the end of July (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for sparkling wines) and ends around 100 days later at the end of October (vines on Etna). For the Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé they start picking in mid-August and the grapes are dried on nets (for 3 weeks).
DONNAFUGATA BRUT METODO CLASSICO NV | Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on higher, cooler north-windy, east facing sites at 500-600 metres (1,640-1,970 feet) with high night-day thermic variation.
CONTESSA ENTELLINA BIANCO, VIGNA DI GABRI | A cru wine made from Ansonica (the Marsala grape) grown in the middle of western Sicily. The wine is named after José’ Rallos mother Gabriella Rallo. Other grapes like Cataratto as well as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier may be blended in. Ferments mainly in stainless steel, with a small portion seeing oak.
CONTESSA ENTELLINA BIANCO DOC, ANTHILIA | The name Anthilia has Roman origins, Antilia (Entellina) being a town where Romans would buy wine from local growers whose wine-growing history was pre-Roman. Made from Cataratto, Grecanico, and Ansonica plus international grape varieties. The estate’s biggest seller.
CONTESSA ENTELLINA BIANCO DOC, LIGHEA ZIBBIBO | Zibibbo is Moscato di Alessandria (Muscat of Alexandria). Dry, lightly aromatic, verbena and dried rose notes.
CONTESSA ENTELLINA BIANCO DOC | Chardonnay.
CONTESSA ENTELLINA ROSSO DOC, MILLE E UNA NOTTE | The name means a ‘Thousand and One Nights.’ Based on Nero d’Avola plus international grape varieties. Their best-selling red.
CONTESSA ENTELLINA ROSSO DOC, TANCREDI | Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon.
ETNA DOC ROSSO, SUL VULCANO | 2016 100% Nerello Mascalese. 13.5% alc.
SHERAZADE NERO D’AVOLA | Made in a easy-drinking, light, fluid style. Used to have Shiraz in it hence the name, but now this Nero d’Avolo based. / 2016 Nice crunchy purple-fruited red at Collisioni 17 July 2017.
MOSCATO DI PANTELLERIA DOC, KABIR | Kabir means ‘The Great’. Made from Zibibbo or Moscato di Alessandria (Muscat of Alexandria). 100 g/l residual sugar.
PASSITO DI PANTELLERIA DOC, BEN RYE | Dessert wine made from Zibibbo or Moscato di Alessandria (Muscat of Alexandria). The grapes are harvested mid-August and dried in the sun for three to four weeks. A second picking is made of freshly picked grapes who pressed juice is allowed to ferment. The dried grapes are hand destemmed and added to the fermenting juice of the later picked grapes. The fermentation takes nearly two months until it stops naturally. / 2008 Ben Ryé Edizione Limitata 100% Zibbibo (Moscato di Alessandria, Muscat of Alexandria). 14.5%. 6.465 bottles. / 2016 14.3% alc. 195g/l residual sugar. Manual harvest in boxes with careful selection of grapes in the vineyard. The harvest of the grapes destined for the production of Ben Ryè began from August 17th with those destined for withering and ended on September 15th. Upon receipt in the cellar, there took place a further selection of the grapes on the vibrating table before soft pressing. Fermentation in steel at a controlled temperature; to the fermenting must is added – several times – raisined berries which had been removed by hand and selected. During maceration, raisins release their extraordinary heritage of sweetness, freshness and highly personal aroma. The vinification process (fermentation and maceration) lasts over a month. Aging: in the tank for 7 months and at least 12 months in the bottle before being marketed.
Tenuta di Donnafugata, Via s Lipari, 18 / I-91025 Marsala, Italy / Tel+39 0923 724206 / www.donnafugata.it