Thirsty Thursday: Frappato by Nanfro from Sicily 2011


Caramel Crunch FrappuccinoNo, no, no, NO!

Not that syrupy, sticky cup of brown disappointment that suburbanites consider a meal replacement, even coffee, or worse, Italian.

No. Not Frappuccino. Frappato: the grape.

frappatoThis grape, an ancient crossing of Sangiovese and something else, plays second fiddle to its bigger blending buddy Nero d’Avola (in Cerasuolo di Vittoria) in Sicily.  Frappato alone usually feels light, tastes tart, and smells grapey.

But in the hands (and casks) of Nanfro, it is more than a blending grape. They farm 37 organic hectares, with one Frappato vineyard, harvest at 4 am, then utilize modern soft presses, temp-controlled ferm tanks, and a mere 6 months aging in concrete tanks.

Nanfro FrappatoAntica Tenuta del Nanfro, Frappato, Sicilia IGT 2011 vino biologico

APPEARANCE: a coppery clear rim deepens into a medium intense ruby core.

AROMAS: Bold cherry cola, flecks of blueberry, dried rose petals, ash and hot petrol stain my nostrils.

PALATE: It feels bone dry, with edgy medium plus acidity, mild fine dust tannins, noted alcoholic warmth, and a medium body. This is a ballet dancer who has done weight-training: all sinews yet silken and elegant.

FLAVORS: Up front soft cherry liquor twists bright with pickled lemon peel, sliding into sea salt, tobacco ash, dried petals, and iron rust that lasts a medium plus length.

Now all that may not sound appetizing, but nothing does after a Frappuccino. Drinks should not always be desert. We need to occasionally put our serious suit on. Try a straight shot of espresso. Let it snap you back to what dry, roasted, black caffeine can taste like.

Lucky for us, Nanfro’s Frappato is not so serious. It is still that ballet dancer: silky, easy, yet athletic. We can thank the grape’s minimal tannins and no oak. With a bit of chill, Nanfro’s Frappato makes for a great, slightly serious, summer red. Seafood, fresh water fish dishes, or a fresh tomato marinara (go light on the garlic) will sing.  Very Good (4 of 5).


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