“To what list?” you might ask. Well, that would be none other than the list of Italy’s “aromatic” RED grape varieties. If you think that you might be a bit fuzzy on what “aromatic” means, just think Moscato d’Asti or Asti Spumante, both of which are made from the reigning monarch of ALL aromatic grape varieties, Muscat. Whether white, green, red, or black-skinned, all aromatic grape varieties possess (often in wildly varying degrees, mind you) those pungently sweet, markedly floral, and deeply, almost over-ripe fruit paste scents that are plainly absent from grapes like Sangiovese or Fiano for example.
The the geographical origin of the Muscat family of grapes (there are at least a dozen Muscat sub-varieties) seems forever lost down a gopher hole in ancient viticultural history. It can be found in vineyards from Portugal to Greece, and all points in between, known by one alias after another, and indeed many of the deeply aromatic white varieties across this entire swath of Earth are part of this family (a fairly aromatic grape variety like Pecorino is a notable Italian exception).
But my guess is that no other nation can boast of as many aroamtic red grapes sprouting from its soil as Italy. In addition to this evening’s Sicilian subject Frappato, there’s Piedmont’s Ruche’, the Marche’s Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, and Puglia’s Nero di Troia, to name just a few.
Frappato, whose home city of Vittoria sits in deep southeastern Sicily, more often than not is blended into Nero d’Avola to make the great Sicilian red Cerasuolo di Vittoria, but it can also be bottled solo as was done here, under the appellation “Vittoria Frappato”.
I put this fragrant red out with a first course of rigatoni with a sauce of artichokes, peas, tomato paste, mint, etc. and then peperoni imbottiti al forno (baked stuffed peppers, green in this case) with a filling of rice, raisins, pine nuts, olives, capers, hard-boiled eggs, oregano, etc.
Valle dell’ Acate Vittoria Frappato “Il Frappato” 2010
Just transparent violet tinged ruby color. Generous, penetrating nose of strawberry preserves, fig paste, lilies, lilac, black pepper, tar, and a touch of herbiness. The body of the wine is medium weight, with a soft, smooth, and relaxed mouthfeel that is nicely balanced by a juicy acidity, and an integrated, dry tannic structure that frames rich and vivid flavors of cherry, watermelon, and pomegranate fruit, sea brine, sweet spices, and green tea. Clean and slightly savory finish.