Sicily, Italy

Passito di Pantelleria DOC – 2015

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  • Vineyard Profile

    • To the south of the westernmost tip of Sicily and closer to Africa than Europe, lies the “black pearl of the Mediterranean,” the volcanic island of Pantelleria. The largest of all Sicilian islands, Pantelleria was the first stepping stone for the Arab invasion of Sicily in the eighth century. It is told that its name is derived from the Arabic “Bent-el Riah,” or “daughter of the wind.” Arabic influences on the island are most evident: The traditional houses, “dammusi,” were first built in the 10th century during Maghreb’s dominion; the two most famous local wines, Moscato and Passito, are made from Zibibbo grapes, which were imported by the Arabs; and many Arabic place names remain. As the origin of the name may suggest, the climate is dominated by the gentle breezes that blow almost continuously. Even though it rains less than 14 inches per year on Pantelleria, the island is surrounded by the sea, and the nightly moisture is collected through ingenious agricultural architectures called “jardinu,” or “garden,” and the holes beneath the vines.

    • Composition: This wine is made using exclusively Zibibbo grapes, a variety of Egyptian grapes, also known as Moscato d’Alessandria or Moscatellone, introduced in Sicily by the Arabs. Only on the island of Pantelleria, Zibibbo is able to achieve the best quality: large, sweet berries, very intense perfume.
    • Elevation: 250 to 450 feet
    • Training: “Alberello pantesco,” or “small tree.” The vines are placed into small holes to protect them from the strong winds. The holes are also meant to collect water through nightly moisture.
  • Vinification

    • The first harvest is in August and the grapes are hand-picked and dried for 2-3 weeks under the sun. The second harvest is at the beginning of September and the grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks. At the end of the fermentation the dried grapes of the first fermentation are pressed, destemmed and added to the wine for a second fermentation. The raisins are left in maceration to release all the sugar and fine aromas typical of the Zibibbo.

  • Technical Information

    • Alcohol: 14%
    • TA: 6.10 g/L
    • p H: 3.60
    • RS: 135 g/L
  • Tasting Notes

    • The color is golden yellow tending to amber and the flavor is intense, with extensive notes of dates, raisins and acacia honey. The palate is sweet, soft and persistent.



  • Nikà Passito di Pantelleria DOC — 2015 – Vinous – 94 Points

    This boasts a deep amber color with red highlights, lifting up layered and intense to offer tropical notes of mango and papaya, then evolving further to show clove, dried roses, orange oil and sugar-dusted almond. It’s seamlessly silky and pliant yet also incredibly lifted, blending salty and sweet as its flavors morph from peach, to melon, to nectarine and even lime confetti. There is simply so much going on here, as the Bent el Riah seems to be constantly changing in the glass, finishing remarkably clean and fresh, resonating on the myriad of flavors and aromas found within. Simply stunning!