Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 
Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide


 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 142, Summer 2015   
Contrasts of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre SciacchetràContrasts of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 141, June 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 143, September 2015

Contrasts of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà

A comparison about two Italian areas so distant one from each other, two different wines including the grapes used for their productions

 Sweet wines, those made from dried grapes, as well as fortified wines, belong to less consumed style by modern consumers. Once considered as medical remedies for the treatment and rehabilitation of patients, sweet wines were always found in the tables of noble and wealth people, in particular to show off their wealthy status. Very expensive wines - something true for quality wines and those really made from dried grapes - they made the glory of certain wine areas of the world, a fame that, in many cases, is still alive today. It is enough to name a couple of them - Sauternes and Tokaji - in order to evoke in many wine lovers' mind the idea of an excellent nectar, both emblems of very high and historical quality. It must be said, for the sake of truth, most of the charm of these wines is also thanks to the effects of Botrytis Cinerea - also known as noble rot - capable of enriching the elegance of these wines.


 

 The decline of these prestigious wines is also because of the change of taste and fads of our times, in which dry wines represent the main wine making model. Sweet wines made from dried grapes and, even more, those made from grapes affected by noble rot, represent a quite demanding wine making task. Last but not the least, it is something quite expensive as well, because what you get from dried grapes is far lesser than what you get by making table wines. In general terms, dried grapes lose a significant quantity of water - and therefore juice - something which can also be more than 40% of weight, then making a far lesser quantity of wine. Despite of modern trends in consumption, sweet wines made from dried grapes represent one of the most complex and amazing sensorial exercises for any taster. The complexity of these wines is in fact the most demanding task any taster can experience from his or her glass.

 Sicily is a land of great sweet wines made from dried grapes. In this island are in fact made some of the most famous sweet wines of Italy, such as the renowned Passito di Pantelleria, Malvasia delle Lipari and Moscato di Siracusa. Sicily seems to be particularly suited for the production of this style of wines, not only for the generosity of sun, but also for the varieties particularly suited for the making of sweet wines. Protagonist of sweet Sicilian wines certainly is Moscato di Alessandria - known in the island as Zibibbo - which, besides being used for Passito di Pantelleria, is also found in many IGT sweet wines of the region. Coming from Egypt, Moscato di Alessandria was introduced in Sicily by Phoenicians and since then used for the production of sweet wines. Moscato di Alessandria seems to be so well suited for the production of sweet wines that even the name used in Sicily to call this grape can confirm that.

 The term Zibibbo in fact derives from Arab zabib, meaning “dried grape”, confirming the use they have always made from this variety, that is allowed to dry and consumed as a dried fruit or vinified. The best land for Moscato di Alessandria certainly is the charming Pantelleria island, the place where it is made the renowned “passito”, an absolute excellence of Sicilian and Italian wine making. Here vineyards, cultivated with the alberello technique, have a charming and particular character, cultivated in the typical terracing, a technique introduced by Arabs in this island. A viticultural practice unique and special, for which UNESCO wanted to nominate the “traditional agricultural practice of cultivating the vite ad alberello (head-trained bush vines) of the community of Pantelleria, as heritage of humanity. From these precious vineyards is being harvested Zibibbo grape and, after having properly dried under the sun, it is crushed and made a very sweet and dense must, used for the production of Passito di Pantelleria.

 Far from Pantelleria, we find another place where it is practiced a charming viticulture, that is the land of Cinque Terre, in province of La Spezia, Liguria. For the specific beauty of the place, coastlines, hillsides and how man has been capable of taking advantage of the nature of these places, Cinque Terre have been nominated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In these lands are produced white wines with Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino grapes, including the famous Sciacchetrà, one of the most looked for and rare sweet wines made from dried grapes in Italy. Vineyards are cultivated in very steep terracing - pieces of land adapted from the wild nature - and vines are cultivated as bushes, a typical practice in areas characterized by strong wind. Viticulture and harvesting are done in quite extreme conditions as to require, in certain cases, the use particular monorail carriages running along the steep and rugged sides sloping down to the sea.

 In these lands, adapted from the severity of nature in order to allow the cultivation of vine, are harvested the precious grapes that, after having been properly dried, give life to the rare and precious Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà. The production of this wine is very low, also by considering the grapes cultivated in Cinque Terre are also used for dry white wines. Having a deep golden color, sometimes intense amber as well, Sciacchetrà is a sweet wine of rare elegance and complexity. This characteristic is also the result of the minimum aging time set by the production disciplinary and which must be of at least one year, at least until the first day of November of the next year following harvesting. Sciacchetrà is a rare wine and, maybe, also because of the limited interest for sweet wines of our times, it does not benefit from the fame of other wines belonging to the same category. This precious wine of Liguria however represents one of the highest and more prestigious excellences of Italian and worldwide wine making.


The color of Cinque Terre
Sciacchetrà observed by tilting the glass
The color of Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà observed by tilting the glass

 The wines we will choose for our tasting will belong to the same vintage and must not however be older than two years. We should notice, first of all, Sciacchetrà is produced with three grapes - Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino - whereas Passito di Pantelleria is made from just one: Zibibbo. Moreover, it should be said that, as opposed to Moscato di Alessandria, the three varieties used for Sciacchetrà are not aromatic. We should also notice in the production of Sciacchetrà is usually favored a higher percentage of Bosco grape because of the thickness of its skin, a characteristic limiting the breaking of berries. A fundamental factor allowing the use of sound berries, as opposed to what happens when grapes having a thin skin are used instead. Wines will be poured in two glasses and tasted at the temperature of 15 °C (59 °F), in order to ensure the proper development of organoleptic qualities without favoring the excessive perception of sweetness.

 Let's pour the two wines in their respective glasses and begin our tasting by contrast from the analysis of appearance. Sweet wines produced with dried grapes have a special and noble appearance since the very moment we evaluate color. In these wines hues are deep and brilliant, also getting elegant golden colors and even amber. Wines of our tasting are no exception to this characteristic. Passito di Pantelleria shows in fact an intense and deep golden color, almost amber, with evident nuances of golden yellow. The appearance of Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà is, in general terms, deeper while showing an evident intense amber yellow color. Nuances, observed by tilting the glass and by evaluating the wine to the edge towards the opening, shows hues of the same color. The two wines show a good transparency, not so high, however allowing seeing the object put behind the glass.

 The evaluation of the olfactory profile certainly represents the most amazing and extraordinary part of the sensorial tasting of sweet wines made from dried grapes. Dense aromas, complex, sometimes complicated, sweet wines made from dried grapes - when produced with quality criteria - offer to the taster one of the highest educational exercise possible. So different from the typical aromas of table wines - and they too are of course charming - the evaluation of the olfactory profile of sweet wines produced with dried grapes requires a lot of concentration and attention. The richness of these wines is given both by the use of dried grapes - a process that, as a matter of fact, concentrates the juice inside the berry - as well as time and aging. These wines, besides being capable of aging for many years and becoming, at the same time, more complex, are usually sold after many months, even years, from harvesting.

 Let's proceed with the olfactory analysis of the two wines. By keeping the glasses in vertical position and without swirling, let's proceed with the preliminary smell of the two wines. Let's smell the glass of Passito di Pantelleria and, after that, the one of Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà: the aromatic difference of the two wines is evident. Moscato di Alessandria - or Zibibbo - offers to the nose an aromatic character similar to grape juice, whereas in Sciacchetrà this characteristic seems to be absent, while perceiving a strong aroma of raisin. Both wines offer to the nose a complex character in which can be perceived aromas of dried fruits, including dried fig, date and raisin. In Passito di Pantelleria can be perceived almond, whereas in Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà will be found walnut, while having in common candied fruits, honey and citrus fruit peel. Passito di Pantelleria sometimes offer to the nose aromas of lychee, lavender and aromatic herbs, including sage and thyme. In both wines can be perceived strong aromas of white and yellow fruit jams, in particular apricot and peach.

 The taste of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà seem to have more common characteristics instead of contrasts. The attack of the two wines, something obviously happening in this style, is characterized by an evident sweetness. The must used for the production of these wines is, as a consequence of the drying of grapes, very concentrated and dense, therefore in the mouth is perceived a full and robust structure. To this is also added a pleasing roundness and, for certain aspects, this is unavoidable, a characteristic increasing the pleasingness of these wines. Also alcohol, found in significant quantities in both wines, contributes to the increasing of sweetness and roundness, despite it plays a role in the balance of wine with its burning sensation. The fundamental element in these wines in order to reach a proper balance is represented by acidity, a factor making a sweet wine pleasing and elegant or sickly-sweet. In both wines it is in fact perceived a remarkable acidity: not just a pleasing sensation but also an essential factor for balance.

 Another amazing characteristic of sweet wines produced with dried grapes certainly is the finish, made of the sensations the wine leaves in the mouth after swallowing. The persistence of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà is very good, wines that - on this regard - will never disappoint with a very long finish. Both wines leave in the mouth a sensation of balance, in which can be perceived both sweetness and roundness, balanced by a pleasing acidity. The difference in these wines is expressed by the flavors perceived in the mouth. In Passito di Pantelleria can be appreciated the characteristic flavor of grape and dried apricot, whereas in Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà can be mainly perceived raisin, dried fig and honey, an undoubtedly elegant finish in both cases. Two great wines, coming from two charming lands in which viticulture represents - for certain aspects - a challenge between man and nature, capable of making divine nectars, generous of high and noble emotions.

 






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 142, Summer 2015   
Contrasts of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre SciacchetràContrasts of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 141, June 2015 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 143, September 2015

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Tredici M 2014, Colline di Sopra (Tuscany, Italy)
Tredici M 2014
Colline di Sopra (Tuscany, Italy)
Moscato Bianco
Price: € 9.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of grape, peach and lychee followed by aromas of apple, pear, lemon, orange blossom and sage.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of grape, peach and lychee.
6 months in steel tanks.
Pasta and risotto with crustaceans, Broiled crustaceans, Stewed fish, Cheese



Larà 2012, Colline di Sopra (Tuscany, Italy)
Larà 2012
Colline di Sopra (Tuscany, Italy)
Merlot, Syrah
Price: € 8.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry, black currant and plum followed by aromas of blueberry, violet, blackberry and carob.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black currant and black cherry.
8 months in steel tanks.
Stuffed pasta, Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat



Vittoria Frappato 2014, Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Vittoria Frappato 2014
Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Frappato
Price: € 10.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of cherry, blackberry and raspberry followed by aromas of strawberry, violet, plum, cyclamen and blueberry.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of cherry, blackberry and raspberry.
6 months in steel tanks, 3 months in bottle.
Cold cuts, Pasta with meat, Sauteed meat, Fish soups



Tané 2010, Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Tané 2010
Valle dell'Acate (Sicily, Italy)
Nero d'Avola, Syrah
Price: € 25.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of brick red, moderate transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of prune, blackberry jam and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry jam, carob, vanilla, chocolate, tobacco, mace and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of prune, blackberry jam and black cherry jam.
12 months in barrique, 14 months in bottle.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Erubesco 2013, Villanoviana (Tuscany, Italy)
Erubesco 2013
Villanoviana (Tuscany, Italy)
Merlot (70%), Cabernet Franc (30%)
Price: € 11.50 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and blueberry followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, raspberry and carob.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and blueberry.
6 months in cement tanks, 6 months in bottle.
Stuffed pasta, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat



Bolgheri Rosso Imeneo 2010, Villanoviana (Tuscany, Italy)
Bolgheri Rosso Imeneo 2010
Villanoviana (Tuscany, Italy)
Merlot (60%), Cabernet Franc (40%)
Price: € 17.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and violet followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, tobacco, iris and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of black currant, black cherry and plum.
10 months in barrique.
Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Amarone della Valpolicella 2011, Tedeschi (Veneto, Italy)
Amarone della Valpolicella 2011
Tedeschi (Veneto, Italy)
Corvina (30%), Corvinone (30%), Rondinella (30%), Oseleta, Negrara, Dindarella, Rossignola (10%)
Price: € 31.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, blackberry and black cherry followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, mace, tobacco, pink pepper and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, blackberry and black cherry.
3 years in cask, 6 months in bottle.
Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva Capitel Monte Olmi 2009, Tedeschi (Veneto, Italy)
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva Capitel Monte Olmi 2009
Tedeschi (Veneto, Italy)
Corvina (30%), Corvinone (30%), Rondinella (30%), Oseleta, Negrara, Dindarella, Croatina, Forselina (10%)
Price: € 56.50 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of brick red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, plum and dried violet followed by aromas of black cherry, vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, leather, tobacco, cinnamon, mace and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry.
4 years in cask, 6 months in bottle.
Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Soave Danieli 2014, Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Soave Danieli 2014
Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Garganega
Price: € 6.50 Score:   Good value wine

Pale straw yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, peach and plum followed by aromas of pear, citrus fruits, hawthorn, broom, pineapple and almond.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, pear and peach.
Aged in steel tanks.
Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans, Sauteed fish, Vegetable soups



Soave Motto Piane 2013, Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Soave Motto Piane 2013
Fattori (Veneto, Italy)
Garganega
Price: € 10.60 Score:   Good value wine

Intense straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, plum and citrus fruits followed by aromas of pear, broom, peach, medlar, hawthorn, pineapple, almond, honey, sage and hints of vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, plum and medlar.
Made from Garganega grape and dried for 40 days, aged in steel tanks and cask.
Pasta and risotto with vegetale and crustaceans, Mushrooms soups, Sauteed white meat, Roasted fish






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 142, Summer 2015   
Contrasts of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre SciacchetràContrasts of Passito di Pantelleria and Cinque Terre Sciacchetrà Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
What kind of wine do you like having in March?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
In what moment of the day do you usually drink wine?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 
What is the most pleasing aspect in wine tasting?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   Share on Google+ 


Events Polls Serving Wine EnoForum EnoGames Wine Places Aquavitae Wine Guide
Home Page About Us:Write Us:Back Issues:Advertising:Index 

Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2019 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.