Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine, representing about a quarter of the world’s production. According to Italy’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MIPAAF), there are 350 grapes that have been granted an authorized status plus at least an additional 500 documented, but not officially authorized local varieties. One of these documented grapes is the ancient Sicilian grape variety called “Frappato.”
Frappato is a red grape that is planted predominately on the southeastern coast of the island of Sicily, in the town and commune of Vittoria. The grape grows well in Sicily’s warm temperatures and dry climate. The grapes are medium-sized and grow in pyramid-shape clusters. Yields from the vines tend to be low, as they are not vigorous vines. These grapes need careful pruning and watchful vineyard management.
DNA testing performed in 2008 in Italy determined that Frappato has a close genetic relationship to Sangiovese. It is likely that Frappato is a crossing of Sangiovese—of Chianti fame—and a yet-unidentified grape variety.
Wines made from Frappato are usually dry, and are light- to medium-bodied with a low to medium level of tannins and medium acidity. They are cherry-colored with aromas and flavors of cherries, strawberries, blueberries, rose petals, violets, white pepper, clove, and sage. Due to its lighter level of tannins, Frappato can be served with a light chill.
Frappato has historically been blended with the Nero d’Avola grape in the region’s Cerasulolo de Vittoria wines. In these wines, he Frappato balances the boldness of the Nero d’Avola. Lately, winemakers are recognizing the distinctive characteristics of the Frappato grape and single varietal wines are being produced.
On Saturday March 16th, 2019 at City Vino, we will be tasting the 2016 Valle dell'Acate Il Frappato Vittoria, which is made from 100% Frappato that has been stainless-steel fermented and aged. Alongside the Valle dell’Acate, we will be pouring two other wines from Sicily, the 2017 Fazio Castelmedio Nerello Mascalese Sicilia, made from the Nerello Mascalese grape; and 2017 Valle dell'Acate Sicilia Zagra, made from the Grillo grape.