Pantelleria is a small, volcanic island south west of Sicily. The Muscat of Alexandria is considered one of the finest clones of Muscat – whose vines thrive in the hot Mediterranean climate – and the volcanic origin of the island lends to the fertile, mineral rich soil. Ben Ryé is an arabic term for ‘son of the wind’, referring to the island’s blustery winds that constantly sweep through the vineyards.
Donnafugata has been owned and run by the Rallo family since 1851, beginning life in the family’s historic cellars in Marsala and Contessa Entellina vineyards in western Sicily. In 1989, Donnafugata set up shop on the island of Pantelleria, commencing its production of naturally sweet wines. The family are passionate not just about producing quality wines but also sustainable practises; nearly 7 miles of traditional Pantellerai drywalls have been repaired, which protect the vineyard, terrain and habitat areas for the local animal and plant life.
100% Muscat of Alexandria (locally called Zibbibo) from old bush vines.
Two harvests take place, one in August and the other in September. The first crop is air-dried naturally in the hot Mediterranean sun; the grapes becoming ‘semi-sultanas’ and concentrating the sugars and aromas. The second harvest consist of extremely ripe, but not dried, grapes, which are pressed. During fermentation, the dried grapes are added to the must in small batches, where they release their flavours and aromas into the wine. The wine is aged in stainless steel vats for at least 7 months, followed by 12 months in bottles.
This is luscious, but the high acidity delivers real freshness. Wonderful with bread and butter pudding, a crumble, or pineapple tatin. But it’s also nectar in itself and might best be treated as a liquid dessert.
Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
In the Press
Platinum (98 points) – Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021 (2018 vintage)
Platinum (97 points) – Decanter World Wine Awards, 2020 (2017 vintage)
Platinum (98 points) – Decanter World Wine Awards, 2019 (2016 vintage)
Gold Medal – Sommelier Wine Awards, 2018 (2015 vintage)
Platinum medal and “Best in Show” – Decanter World Wine Awards, 2018 (2015 vintage)