I have yet to set foot on Sicilian soil but my taste buds have traveled there courtesy of Donnafugata wines. One of Sicily's most respected wineries and celebrated throughout Italy, Donnafugata was founded in 1983 by the Rallo family - a visionary family with 160 years of experience in producing premium wines. The patriarch of the family, Giacomo Rallo, passed away just a few months ago; but his wife Gabriella, son Antonio, and daughter José are carrying on the Donnafugata legacy.
Donnafugata's portfolio includes an impressive array of wines that vividly express the terroir of Sicily and the passion of the Rallo family. To get started, I recommend two Donnafugata wines that are perfect for steamy summer days and nights - SurSur and Sherazade. But consider yourself warned - the name Donnafugata literally means "woman in flight". After a glass or two, you may be inspired to hop the next flight to Sicily!
Donnafugata SurSur 2015 Grillo Sicilia DOC ($20)
SurSur is a sunny and vibrant expression of Grillo - one of Sicily's most important white grape varieties. The playful name SurSur means cricket and comes from Arabic, which was once spoken in Sicily. Like an energetic cricket, this refreshing wine leaps across the palate with juicy flavors of white peach, grapefruit, and tropical fruits with an appealing hint of herbs and crisp minerality. A lovely way to quench your thirst on a hot summer day, SurSur is an elegant apéritif and a fantastic match with light seafood and vegetable dishes.
Donnafugata Sherazade 2015 Nero d'Avola Sicilia DOC ($20)
I invited a dear friend to share this lovely bottle of Sherazade and I drank way more than my fair share - blame it on the vino, it was delicious! Nero d'Avola is Sicily's most important indigenous red grape and has a reputation for producing big and bold wines. Sherazade is quite different and shows the playful and more approachable side of Nero d'Avola. Named after the protagonist of the literary classic One Thousand and One Nights, Sherazade is fruity with silky tannins. A wonderful summer red, serve Sherazade slightly chilled to really capture its juicy flavors of red cherries with touches of orange peel, cranberry, and spice. Pair with rich pastas, pizza, salumi, and baked fish.
If you're planning a trip to Sicily, Donnafugata welcomes visitors for tours and tastings. Until then, fill your glass and let their wines transport you. Cheers!