Two Sicilian Wines from Cerasuolo di Vittoria
Both of these wines are from Cerasuolo di Vittoria. It spans three provinces: Ragusa, Caltanissetta and Catania. The area has a long history of wine production starting with the Greeks. The city of Vittoria was founded in 1606 and is named in honor of Countess Vittoria Colonna Henriquez. Vittoria is located near the south-eastern tip of Sicily not far away from Noto. The Countess offered the first 75 farmers one hectare of land if the promised to cultivate a vineyard on another. This resulted in an explosion in vineyards that established this as a significant region.
Cerasuolo stems from the name Cerasa meaning cherry. During the pre-phylloxera times there were so many vineyards in Ragusa that the wineries could only process the grapes fast enough if they used very short maceration times. This resulted in a light cherry-colored wine. This DOC was granted DOCG status starting with the 2005 vintage. This allow wine makers to move away from the traditional 50/50 blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato.
Planeta is a company with five estates and wineries located throughout Sicily. The Dorilla estate in Vittoria produces only one Cerasuolo di Vottoria wine. The 17 hectare vineyard is at an altitude of 60 meters and was planted in 1997. The soils are sandy and lie over volcanic tufa. The grapes are typically harvested during the end of September. This wine is a blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato and was completely brought up in stainless steel. Alessio Planeta believes this DOCG is about perfume and that oak would weaken the focus. It is available for $22 at MacArthur’s.
Arianna Occhipinti is a young winemaker from Vittoria. She has been making wine for ten years under the guidance of her uncle. Her vineyards are also located in Cerasuolo di Vottira at an altitude of 270 meters. The vines average eight years of age and are harvested during the middle of October. This wine is not DOCG wine because it is 100% Frappato. Her wines are certified organic. The Occhipinti is $33 at MacArthur’s and 13% alcohol.
Both of these wines are quite enjoyable. I really loved the gorgeous nose on the Occhipinti but I found it a bit weak in the mouth. While it is a good introduction to pure Frappato it is too expensive to be a daily drinker. I recommend the Planeta as an introduction to this region.
2008 Planeta, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily
This wine sports a light, Frappato nose with cherry undertones. In the mouth there are red flavors, gritty cherries and raspberries that are savory. There is a salty character on the sides of the tongue. After a few hours the wine rounds out in the mouth, putting on nice weight and underlying blue fruit. Jenn found an enjoyable nutty, toasty flavors at the end. *** Now-2015.
2008 Occhipinti, Il Frappato, Sicily
This wine is much more aromatic with a medium nose of aromatic, floral, cherry, raspberry, and scented spices. In the mouth there are similar flavors of herbed red berries, tart fruit, in a savory and salty manner. There is a light amount of medium-coarse tannins. With air it becomes a bit tart and the nose leaves a stronger impression than the body. ** Now.