Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sicilian Duo by Donnafugata Shine in the Glass!

Sicilian Duo by Donnafugata Shine in the Glass!

Donnafugata `Sherazade` Nero d’Avola Sicilia (DOC) 2019, 13% 

RRP €23.99 64 Wine; Alain and Christine Wine and Card Shop; Avoca Handweavers Shops; Cashel Wine Cellar; Drink Store; Ely Wine Store; Fallon & Byrne; The Hen and Hog, Ashford Co. Wicklow; Jus de Vine; Mannings Emporium; McHughs Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd; Red Island Wine Co; Searsons Wine Merchants; The Corkscrew; Thomas Woodberry’s; Whelehans Wines;

A brilliant ruby is the colour of this Sherazade, produced from the Nero D’Avola grape, the red grape of Sicily. Aromas are fresh and fruity. And it is much the same combination on the palate. Much lighter than you’d expect and you can see why it is often recommended as an aperitif (slightly chilled). It tends more towards Pinot Noir and Gamay rather than Cabernet Sauvignon. Soft, with plum and cherry and smooth tannins and spicy fruit, this is a beauty, a fragrant and pleasant wine with outstanding freshness. Very Highly Recommended

The 2019 vintage began with a mild winter and a wet spring. The summer months were drier, the grapes were healthy and ripened well. Yields were lower than in the previous two years. Those excellent grapes promised much by way of aromatics and balance and that promise was delivered in the winery. 

Donnafugata suggest matching it with fish soup, pizza or classic tomato spaghetti. Luckily we had a take-out from the superb Osteria Da Mirco in Cork city and the Sherazade did very well indeed with the Parmigiana di melanzane, Cannelloni di Magro and Polpette al Sugo (with Tagliatelle) and we're able to confirm the producer’s suggestions! It was served, slightly chilled, at around 15 degrees.

Sherazade (or Scheherazade) is a major female character and the storyteller in the Oriental collection of tales known as the One Thousand and Nights.

Donnafugata `Sur Sur` Grillo Siclia (DOC) 2020, 13%, 

RRP €23.99 Alain and Christine Wine and Card Shop; Blackrock Cellar; Mannings Emporium; Martins Off Licence; Searsons Wine Merchants; The Corkscrew;

This Grillo wine, from an ancient white grape variety of Sicily, has a very light straw colour. Its aromatics are quite intense, fresh and fruity, floral and herbal notes as well. And you get much the same combination on the light and lively palate with peach (especially) and melon to the fore. 

The producers recommend serving at 9-11 degrees and pairing with seafood appetisers, vegetarian first courses, and roasted fish. I got a lovely surprise with this one as it is perhaps the best Grillo that I’ve come across and Very Highly Recommended

Importers Liberty tell us the Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851 in their ancient cellars tunnelled beneath the city. “They were one of the first families to begin making high-quality table wine when sales of traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region’s native varieties.”

Grillo is an ancient autochthonous Sicilian grape variety, but it is also a cute little animal (the cricket) that brings good luck. The name sur sur, that means cricket, comes from the classical Arabic language which was once also spoken in Sicily. The voice of spring, with its scents and colors, is depicted on the label. It shows Gabriella (founder of Donnafugata, with her husband Giacomo) as a girl in flight, running barefoot through the flowers and fresh grass, following the singing of crickets that sounds sweet to her ears, like a thousand “SurSur… “

According to, Grillo has become a viable contender for the quintessential Italian table white: light, easy-drinking and often associated with very good value and competes well with better known Italian white grapes. 

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