The Best Summer-Ready Red Wine : Frappato
Have you ever heard of the Sicilian grape Frappato? It is not always obvious to find some in wine stores because of its scarcity. However, it makes fruit forward wines with a high level of drinkability especially for the summer. I can proudly proclaim Frappato the grape to go for this summertime.
Typical of Sicily, the Frappato has all the assets to make a very versatile wine. As pleasant as an aperitif to pair with charcuterie, chicken or even a grilled fish (yes, yes, red wine for some fish), the Frappato is a small fruit bomb with frank acidity and freshness. It produces wines with a pretty ruby color and whose alcohol content rarely exceeds 13%. In short, good wines of thirst, but with that typical fiery character of Sicily. After succumbing to the sirens of international grape varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon and other big sellers on the world markets, the winemakers of Sicily have quickly returned to what they grow best : their own grape varieties. Thank God now the Frappato is here to spoil those who like good gourmet wines with a nice drinkability.
Also delicious in blends
Strangely enough, some AOC sometimes go under the consumers radar. It shouldn’t come as a surprise because every day we are bombarded by new products from emerging countries on the world wine scene. Among those underrated AOC we can find the Sicilian wines of the Cerasuolo di Vittoria AOC. They’re definitely worth some tasting.
Grown in Ragusa and Vittoria, an area located on the South Coast of Sicily, that appellation is vinified by winemakers as a little jewel . Usually Cerasuolo is a blend of Nero d’Avola (50 to 70%), one of the well-known indigenous Sicilian grapes. Cerasuolo di Vittoria the only appellation of origin controlled and guaranteed in Sicily, the famous label DOCG as much sought by the aficionados of Italian wines. Linguists may have noticed that the name takes its name from Cerasa, which means cherry in the Sicilian dialect. What is special about this appellation is that it is unlike any other thanks to the blend of these two grape varieties unique to Sicily. Expect aromas of cherries obviously, but also pomegranate, strawberries and plum. The Nero d’Avola brings the tannic structure (but not too much, depending on the dosage) while the Frappato offers tonic and youthful fruit.
Shall we Taste ?
Caruso & Minini Terra di Giumara, Frappato, 2017, Sicily, Italy
For starters, there is this 100% Frappato. A little rustic for some certainly but it shows the charming side of the grape. It is partially matured in oak barrels to give it a little more roundness. It is a bit on the warmer side of the classic vinification with more candied cherry and spiciness than usually but with it will pair well with the oven cooked pizza with some chorizo and red peppers. (17,35$)
Planeta, Frappato, 2017, Sicily, Italy
Yes, I know, there is not much left in some wine stores because we are still waiting for the newer vintage, but let’s face it, Planeta is a great Sicilian producer who does what it makes best : excellent wines. Its frappato is no exception with its red fruit aromas and floral notes. A little fruity bomb with a smoky finish in the mouth. Pasta with a tomato-based sauce will be a great asset to pair with. (21,95$)
Valle dell’Acate, Frappato, 2017, Vittoria, Sicily, Italy
A proud advocate of her country, Gaetana Jacono is a true Sicilian at heart. On her organically grown vineyard she can’t stop praising the work of her ancestors who have always made racy and typical wines without giving in to ease. This Frappato is a delicious full of red berries wine with peppery and liquorice notes. It is full of freshness with some minerality and it is so easy to drink. You will love it, believe me. (25,70$)
Occhipinti, SP68, 2017, Frappato, Sicily, Italy
Arianna Occhipinti is quite a woman. Barely 37 years old and she is already in her sixteenth vintage on her Sicilian estate. She makes great juice with typicity without artifice. Organically farmed, this blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola tastes like Cerasuolo di Vittoria but with this little je ne sais quoi that is wild and unique. Fermented on its natural yeasts in stainless steel vats and aged in concrete vats, fruit is pure and so genuine. Frankly it is delicious. (32,25$)
COS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, 2016, Sicily, Italy
For those who wonder COS is the acronym for Giambattista Cilia, Guisto Occhipinti (yes, Arianna’s uncle mentioned above) and Pinuccia Strano, the three owners of the estate located in the region of Vittoria in Sicily. Here we respect the local ecosystem we grwo everything organically. In the Cerasuolo appellation, Nero d’Avola obvioulsy dominates Frappato. It is a tasty wine with a little more body than the aforementioned wines but always with the ease to drink that we love so much. (39$)