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A Glass Of Mt. Etna

Having visited Sicily a few times over the past three years, I had the opportunity to spend time at many wineries, drink a variety of memorable wines and indulge in mouthwatering cuisine. I completely fell in love with the beauty and culture of the island. I have traveled from Catania to Trapani and in-between and even spent time on the enchanting island of Pantelleria. However, the one area of Sicily that still eludes me is Mt. Etna.

Thanks to Donnafugata, I was recently gifted a holiday basket that included a bottle of their Fragore Etna Rosso DOC, one of the newest editions to their portfolio. After one sip, my palate did a happy dance as I was momentarily transported back to Sicily.  

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

So, without further ado, I’m heading straight to Mt. Etna…at least my palate is!
In addition to four other areas with vineyards spread across Sicily, Donnafugata has approximately 18 hectares of vineyard production on Etna in eastern Sicily and all 18 hectares are in the DOC zone. The vineyards are located on the north side of the volcano and are spread out among 5 districts, with the highest altitude of 750 meters above sea level in Randazzo. While this area benefits from the Mediterranean climate, the proximity of the very active Mt. Etna volcano plays an important role in the surrounding soils. This soil is rich with volcanic nutrients thanks to volcanic ash and rock, which in turn provides nutrients to the grapevines and ultimately helps to create more concentrated flavor and complexity in the wines. The soils for this particular wine are rather unique as explained on Donnafugata’s website. “With its eruptions, Etna produces “sciare”, accumulations of lava, that through long physical-chemical processes give rise to the sandy, and therefore cultivable, soils on the slopes of the volcano. Each lava flow, that took place in different historical periods, determines a specific composition of the terrains: this is the imprint that makes the wine from a micro-territory unique. In particular, the lava flow of Montelaguardia, where the cru Fragore is produced, dates back to 1614-1624.”

Donnafugata Fragore Etna Rollo DOC Contrada Montelaguardia 2016: This first vintage wine is made with 100% Nerello Mascalese. The grapes are sourced and handpicked from Montelaguardia area of Randazzo and vinified at Donnafugata’s winery in Randazzo. Aging took place in French oak barrels for 14 months and then a minimum of 10 months in the bottle before release.  

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

A bright color of red raspberry leads to a beautiful bouquet of floral, red berries, cherry, sweet spice, minerality and a whiff of smoke. The palate offers a profusion of berries, cherry, minerality and hints of balsamic and anise. Spice and sour cherry linger on a long and luxurious finish. This is an elegant wine that is delicately balanced with refreshing acidity and tannins.  This complex wine brings the essence of Mt. Etna to your palate! Serve with grilled meat, tuna and spicy or tangy cuisine.
Alcohol:  14.5%
SRP:  $85

Fragore literally means ‘crash or thunder’ in Italian, and the interpretation here is that of “thunder’ alluding to the explosive and volcanic thunder of the volcano.

Every whimsical label of Donnafugata wines tells a story called “Dialog With Art” that I like to include with my reviews.  Here is the dialog for Fragore.

Image courtesy of Donnafugata

"Donnafugata is “projected” towards the future, like an object launched into space, attracted by invisible gravities. Illustrator Stefano Vitale captures this perpetual motion perfectly in the latest label of Fragore that represents the volcano’s roar. Donnafugata continues its journey towards the most remote corners of Sicily: east to Vittoria and then up to the highest point on the island, on the Etna volcano.”

The next time you want to experience the wonders of Mt. Etna, pour a glass of Fragore and immerse yourself in the magic of Sicily!

Until next time…
Cheers!

Penny

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