The contemporary Sicilian wine landscape is still very much in flux, but so is Sicily itself. And in so many ways, it always has been so…Beginning with its distantly ancient indiginous people, to the Phoenicians, the Greeks, Romans, Moors, Normans, Spanish, French et al. – all came and for a time steered the island, and each left a bit of their respective cultures to make up what Sicily is today, and the island’s vineyards are no exception.
But those who know Sicily also know that paradoxically, it is also a place that is deeply and fundamentally resistant to change, and once again, the island’s vineyards are no exception, and that’s become, over the centuries, a great asset. So it’s not surprising that deep in the southeastern point of the island extending toward North Africa into the azure Mediterranean, one can find the home of Frappato. In a place so thin on D.O.C. designations, one of the few that Sicily does have is located here, and it goes by the very difficult-for-the-non-Italophone name Cerasuolo di Vittoria. In this appellation, Frappato shares the bottle with Sicily’s best known red grape Nero D’Avola, but straight up, Frappato can’t carry that name, so any such solo bottling must be labeled as “Sicilia I.G.T.”, and so it is with tonight’s wine…
Frappato is indubitably a “light red” wine, but not in the way that Pinot Noir or Grignolino are light reds. Frappato is somehow quite substantial in the mouth, but is still quite delicate, fresh, and lively, with a beguiling, ethereal melange of florality, spice, and earthiness on the nose. Knowing that this a red wine that goes execptionally well with fish (and the label of this particular wine recommends as much) especially grilled fish, gives you a pretty good idea of what kind of wine Frappato makes unblended.
So after the extolling the pairing of Frappato with seafood, what did I serve it with? For various reasons, a good old Jersey City pizzeria pizza (Frappato loves all types of appetizers and first courses too).
Tami’ Frappato Sicilia I.G.T. 2o11
Just translucent, magenta-tinged ruby color. Cleanly aromatic nose of chalk, lilies, dried red currants and cranberries, marzipan, wood roasted chestnuts, cocoa, and mixed salumi. The medium body is vivid, lively, with a clean, fresh acidity, and tidy flavors of super-ripe strawberries, raspberry syrup, cola nut, fennel seed, and a touch of black truffle, all framed by a taut and wiry but polished tannic web