Everyone is in love with the wines of Sicily these days, in part because there is the feeling that the region’s winemaking is both ancient and modern, which, in many ways, it is. Nowhere is this new Sicily more apparent than with the family-owned Donnafugata winery, which both makes good wines and has keen marketing savvy as well.
Here are some notes of six that are now available:
2011 Donnafugata "Lighea" ($19). The next indigenous grape that we may all come to know is the white moscato, zibibbo — which, when said out loud, even sounds lively and fresh. This one is quite aromatic and floral with tastes of bananas, citrus, and white peach. Have it with some simply prepared scallops with citrus.
2011 Donnafugata "Anthilia" IGP ($15) is a fuller, rounder, more-tart white blend, mainly from catarratto, that has white pepper in the nose and tangy peach at the finish — an afternoon sipper.
2008 Donnafugata Chiarandà ($40) is an equal blend of chardonnay and ansonica, and it reminds me of an old-style East Coast chard — somewhat spicy, somewhat oaky, a little heavy on the palate with cheese-like whey tastes in the finish. Would match it with an oilier fish, roasted whole.
2008 Donnafugata "Tancredi" rosso ($40). A blend of international and indigenous red grapes, this is onne of those wines that is tart yet fruity in the same way balsamic is. Very lean, with flavors of tart cherries. Try it with spaghetti Bolognese.
2007 Donnafugata "Mille e Una Notta" rosso ($80). Similar to the Tancredi, but with darker notes and the earthier tones of nero d’avola with more finishing acidity and tannins. Pair it with rare steak.
2010 Donna Fugata "Ben Ryé" passito di Pantelleria ($35 for 375 ml.) A sweet wine made from dried grapes, it reminds me of a young Tokaji, with lots of fresh and dried fruits — again straddling the sweet/tart line. Unfortunately, it would be even better with more acidity and structure. Sip it while you nibble very ripe figs.