2017 BEN RYÉ, Donnafugata. Passito di Pantelleria, Sicily, Italy (Half bottle)
Alcohol Percentage: 14.5%
Size of bottle: Half bottle
Area: Pantelleria is a small, volcanic island south west of Sicily.
Grape Variety: Muscat of Alexandria (locally called Zibbibo) from old bush vines. Picked over a month, to ensure all are fully ripe. The earlier bunches are air-dried to semi-sultanas; then added to the fermentation in small batches and then aged gently (without wood).
Producer: Donnafugata has been owned and run by the Rallo family since 1851. They have 260 hectares in the hills east of Marsala and also this estate on the island of Pantelleria. They started selling table wine in 1983, by which date sales of fortified wine were no longer commercially viable. Ben Ryé is an arabic term for 'son of the wind', referring to the blustery conditions on the island.
Cellar Potential: Will hold well for 10 years, but part of the charm of Muscat is the floral aroma, which will fade from around 5 years after vintage.
Food Match: This is luscious (193 grammes of sugar per litre) but with real freshness (it's acidity is a high 7.9 g/l). This makes it man enough to stand up to bread and butter pudding or an autumn crumble. But it's also nectar in itself and might best be treated as a liquid dessert.
Old Bridge Rating: Partially air-dried Muscat from old vines on a wind-swept volcanic island off the coast of Sicily. Concentrated and intense, but finely balance. One of the few great wines made from Muscat.
Press Reviews: "Burnished bittersweet orange scents, almost smoky in their intensity. Thick, intense and weighty......a saline note adds a further factor of balance to this exotic southerner."
Gold Medal and Best In Show award, Decanter World Wine Awards 2018. 97/100 points.
£39.95 per bottle
£37.95 per bottle in a mixed case of 6 bottles
£35.96 per bottle in a mixed case of 12 bottles