Brett happens

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Lucid and solar

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In the late 1970s, his youthful obsession with race car driving behind him, Marco De Bartoli returned to the family estate and set out to save Marsala wine from the quantity-over-quality mindset that had tarnished if not destroyed its once sterling reputation. To say he succeeded would be an understatement, as his terroir-driven, Grillo-only Marsalas are widely viewed as exceptional and peerless. In the mid-1980s, De Bartoli expanded his operations to the island of Pantelleria, renowned for its sweet Muscats. In the mid-1990s, his sons came on board, leading to the production of dry reds and whites made from local grape varieties. While the farming has always been organic, it is only now being certified as such.

We tasted two of the dry whites. A third, the 2013 Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria) “Pietranera,” didn’t make it out of the SAQ warehouse in time. The Marsalas we hope to taste before long, the good news being that at least one of them will soon be available at the SAQ Signature stores.

IGT Terre Siciliane 2013, Vignaverde, Marco De Bartoli ($29.35, private import, 12 bottles/case)
This is the first vintage of the wine. The grapes were picked earlier than is the case for the fruit used to make the estate’s Marsalas and oak-aged Grillo (late August as opposed to early September), the idea being to produce a fresher wine. 100% Grillo from organically farmed 18-year-old vines grown in the Samperi vineyard. Manually harvested. Gently pressed. The must is chilled and clarified by settling for 48 hours. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled 50-hectolitre stainless steel tanks. Matured on the lees for six months also in stainless steel tanks. 11.5% ABV. 15,000 bottles made. Quebec agent: oneopole.
Minerals, preserved lemon peel and a hint of mango, gaining sweat and quartz notes as it breathes. Medium-bodied but possessing a certain weight and roundness. The ripe-sweet fruit is dusted with minerals and checked by sourish acidity. A saline thread runs through the long finish. So smooth and solar you could be forgiven for not immediately noticing its complexity and depth. (Buy again? Gladly.)

IGT Terre Siciliane 2013, Lucido, Marco De Bartoli ($21.85, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Catarratto Lucido from organically farmed 11-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Gently pressed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Matured on the lees for seven months also in stainless steel tanks. 11.5% ABV. 10,000 bottles made. Quebec agent: oneopole.
Shy rainwatery nose with peach and floral overtones. Drier, fleeter and even more savoury than the Vignaverde, packed with rocky minerals. Acidity is sustained but not souring, while the finish is clean and appetizing. Opening, deepening, drinkable and delicious. Great QPR. (Buy again? Done!)

MWG March 12th tasting: flight 2 of 7.

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Written by carswell

April 29, 2015 at 14:04

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