37.5cl * 14.5% ABV * Zibibbo (Muscat) * Vegan * Passito di Pantelleria DOC, Sicily
The Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851 and their ancient cellars tunnel beneath the city. They were one of the first families to begin making high-quality table wine when sales of
traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region's native varieties. Today, Donnafugata has four estates in Sicily: a modern
winery and 283 hectares at Contessa Entellina in the hills east of Marsala; 36 hectares in Vittoria to the south eastern point of the island; 68 hectares on the island of Pantelleria; and 18 hectares on
the slopes of Etna. Donnafugata means 'fleeing woman' and is a reference to Queen Maria Carolina, who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th century with her husband, Ferdinand IV of
Bourbon, when Napoleon's troops arrived. The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (who wrote The Leopard) and depicted on the 'Mille e Una Notte' label.
Grapes were hand harvested and carefully selected in the vineyards. Once the grapes reached the winery, they underwent selection on a vibrating table before soft pressing. Fermentation took place in stainless-steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The dried grapes were destemmed and selected by hand before they were added to the fresh must in several batches. Ageing took place in stainless-steel tanks for eight months and at least 12 months in bottle before release.
The Ben Rye is a bright amber in the glass. The ample and round bouquet opens with aromas of fresh apricots and candied orange peel on a background of aromatic herbs. On the palate, the sweetness (a staggering 197g/l) is well balanced by crisp acidity and great length.
Awards: 91 points, Wine Spectator. 98 points – Platinum Decanter Magazine awards
Ideally serve at 14°C and it’s the perfect partner for foie gras, or as and when that is banned, blue cheeses as well as with ricotta-filled desserts or dark chocolate.
Joe Fattorini's Tasting Note: "This wine’s candied orange aroma and tangy-sweetness hint at an ancient style of wind-dried wine. The ‘Dammusi’ house on the label and name (derived from the Arabic ‘Son of the wind’) hint at the waves of invaders on this Sicilian island. Great with little pastries like Sicilian Cannoli with candied fruit."