Passito di Pantelleria DOC – 2011
To the south of the westernmost tip of Sicily and closer to Africa than Europe, lies the “black pearl of the Mediterranean,” the volcanic island of Pantelleria. The largest of all Sicilian islands, Pantelleria was the first stepping stone for the Arab invasion of Sicily in the eighth century. It is told that its name is derived from the Arabic “Bent-el Riah,” or “daughter of the wind.” Arabic influences on the island are most evident: The traditional houses, “dammusi,” were first built in the 10th century during Maghreb’s dominion; the two most famous local wines, Moscato and Passito, are made from Zibibbo grapes, which were imported by the Arabs; and many Arabic place names remain. As the origin of the name may suggest, the climate is dominated by the gentle breezes that blow almost continuously. Even though it rains less than 14 inches per year on Pantelleria, the island is surrounded by the sea, and the nightly moisture is collected through ingenious agricultural architectures called “jardinu,” or “garden,” and the holes beneath the vines.
- Composition: 100% Zibibbo, an Egyptian grape that is also known as “Moscato d’Alessandria” or “Moscatellone.” Zibibbo was introduced in Sicily by the Arabs. Only on the island of Pantelleria is Zibibbo able to achieve the best qualities: large, sweet berries and a very intense perfume.
- Elevation: 250 to 450 feet
- Training: “Alberello pantesco,” or “small tree.” The vines are placed into small holes to protect them from the strong winds. The holes are also meant to collect water through nightly moisture.
The first harvest takes place in August when the grapes are picked by hand and dried for two to three weeks under the sun. The second harvest takes place at the beginning of September and the grapes are fermented in stainless-steel tanks. At the end of fermentation, the dried grapes of the first fermentation are pressed, destemmed and added to the wine for a second fermentation. The raisins are left in maceration to release all of the sugar and fine aromas typical of the Zibibbo.
The color is golden yellow leaning towards amber. The flavor is intense, with extensive notes of dates, raisins and acacia honey. The palate is sweet, soft and persistent.
- Alcohol: 14.5%
- TA: 5.35 g/L
- p H: 4.05
- RS: 149 g/L