The Wine: Nerocapitano Frappato 2020
Nerocapitano is what the locals in Filippo’s village call Frappato. The fruit here comes from twenty-year-old vines planted over clay and limestone some 430 meters above sea level. The grapes were fermented on the skins for seven days, before being pressed off to concrete vats for eight months of rest. Lamoresca Nerocapitano is a gorgeous shade of cherry in the glass, it impresses with gentle notes of wildflowers and bitter herbs.
The Producer: Lamoresca
The Lamoresca farm is located in the ruggedly enchanting hills of the Sicilian hinterland, near the burg of San Michele di Ganzaria, in the South-Eastern part of the island. Having been established in 2000, the farm has long since been certified organic and can be said to be one of the earliest pioneers of natural farming and winemaking in Sicily. Lamoresca is roughly 10 hectares, vineyards grow on sandstone, limestone, and clay soils; the varietals are some of Sicily's very own ones such as Nero d’Avola, Zibibbo, Nerello Mascalese, Frappato, Grenache, with some Vermentino – most of which venerably old. Needless to say, the careful and loving natural work in the vineyard is faithfully mirrored in the cellar, with spontaneous fermentation, skin contact for both red and whites, and an unflinching focus on highlighting with each bottle the vitality of this unique terroir.
The Region: Sicily
Sicily is Italy’s biggest island and also its biggest region. It’s separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina (Stretto di Messina). The capital of Sicily is Palermo, a majestically decadent multicultural city offering one of the richest culinary traditions in Italy.
Sicily’s history and culture are fascinating, to say the least. Their complexity is manifest in the diverse architecture of its cities. All over the region and particularly in Palermo we can find Arab, Greek, Roman, and Spanish influences in the layout of the city as well as in the food and local language.
Sicily is the third biggest producing country in Italy, behind Veneto and Tuscany. The quality of Sicilian wines has increased steadily over the past 30 years. Some international grape varietals - mainly chardonnay and syrah - have found a place in Sicilian viticulture, traditionally dominated by native varietals such as Nero d’Avola, Catarratto, Grillo, and Inzolia.
The Terroir of Sicily
Sicily's proximity to Northern Africa and position right at the center of the Mediterranean reflect deeply on its climate. Endless sunshine, moderate rainfalls, and good aeration characterize pretty much the whole region with minor seasonal variations. Palm trees and other tropical plants and fruits are a fairly common sight in Sicily all year round.
Among the several benefits of this climate one stands out: in Sicily, grapes can grow without being imperiled by mildew, rot, or any other disease brought by too much humidity. Sicilian grapes are generally speaking naturally healthy, hence the substantial number of certified organic or biodynamic wineries.
The Red Wines of Sicily
The most widely planted red grape varietal in Sicily is Nero d'Avola, which accounts for about 20% of the total regional wine production. Frappato is another prominent red varietal, used to make the only DOCG wine in Sicily, Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG.
Less common but typical of Sicily are Alicante, similar to Grenache, Nocera, and Perrone, often blended with Nero d'Avola. On the slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna, Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio are key red grape varietals in the popular Etna DOC appellation.
The White Wines of Sicily
Marsala and Passito di Pantelleria are perhaps the most famous Sicilian white wines, although their popularity has been waning over the years in favor of dry and refreshing white wines made from native varietals Inzolia and Grillo are fairly easy to find in the United States and generally very good.
In a similar way to Umbria, the Central Italian region known for the red tannic wine Sagrantino di Montefalco, Chardonnay has found its place also in Sicily. Chardonnay from Sicily can vary in quality depending on the producer.
On Primal Wine we sell one of the few 100% Chardonnay vinified with extended skin contact in the style of an Orange Wine made by the excellent Marabino winery from organically farmed grapes.
Author: Melissa Norton ©
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