Everytime I go back to the post on the Sicily tasting I find I’ve spelled a name incorrectly. Today, it was Sicilia IGT Carolina Marengo Feudi del Pisciotto 2007. I’ll take a closer look at the wine itself, as well as the grape Grillo and the producer Feudi del Pisciotto. I’ve already written a few times about Sicily in general, so I won’t belabour the region.
Just to recap, I attended a wonderful tasting a couple of weeks ago and posted the general notes and a gallery of bottle shots. However, I took my time with notes such that I am going back about once a week and writing in particular about some of the varietal wines that were interesting and which I don’t often find available.
So today’s wine is a varietal Grillo, one of the lesser well known white grapes of Sicily. How lesser known? I can’t find any reference to it being grown anywhere else in Italy, much less the rest of the world. In fact, looking around there’s precious little information available about the grape.
It’s a white grape, best known as a high quality component of Marsala. It does well in the warm climate of Sicily and is typically grown on bush vines. The wine it produces can be moderately acidic, full bodied, and aromatic, with notes of jasmine, pear, quince, lemon, cashews, and sometimes and overriding smokiness. Relative to the other grapes that go into Marsala, it is less aromatic than Inzolia and has lower yields than Catarratto which has replaced it in a number of vineyards.
The producer, Feudi del Pisciotto, is based in Sicily and is part of the Domini Castellare di Castellina empire which has several other brands within Italy, as well as a Champagne label. Fuedi del Pisciotto is an very old winery, recently reincarnated. The original Fuedo, or feudal manor house, was used in the production of wine as far back as the 18th century, and features a gravity fed pressing area with vats underneath. Fast forward to the 21st century, and a modern winery now sits within the centuries old structure, and a series of new plantings surround it. Their holdings are split between two vineyard areas, with the newer (about 10 years old) vines are a mix of primarily Nero d’Avola and other Sicilian natives, along with some popular international varieties, and the older vines being Nero d’Avola, Inzolia and Catarratto though they are scheduled to be replanted.
One thing notable about this winery is their line of wines with labels created by prominent Italian fashion designers. I admit that I was not familiar with the designer of this label, but she is Carolina Marengo, the Italian designer behind the Kisa, an eastern European backed clothing fashion house known for its high end cocktail dresses. Names more familiar to me at least in the line include Versace, Valentino, and Missoni. (Alas, the designers at Prada have been too busy designing shoes for my wife to dabble in wine labels.) The idea of having prominent artists or designers gracing a wine label is not new, with Château Mouton Rothschild being the most obvious example.
Details on this wine are a bit thin on the ground, but I can tell you it was fermented in steel under controlled temperatures and saw no oak before bottling.
In the glass, this wine was a medium minus gold colour with slow legs, and generally looked very developed. On the nose it was clean with a developing character, smelling younger than it looked, with a medium plus intensity. It smelled of a slightly cheesiness, along with some white chocolate, lemon rind, mushrooms and some flor/lees character. The palate was dry, with medium plus body and acidity, but medium intensity and alcohol. The flavours were of lemon, bell pepper, white pepper and spices.
This was a good wine, but I didn’t much know what to make of it. I liked it, but part of that was knowing that it was something new. There certainly was plenty of complexity, with my nose and palate being all over the place. The body and acidity were good, and it was holding together well for a white with a few years on it. I look forward to having it again sometime.