Dessert wines come in all shapes and sizes. Port and port style wines are perhaps the most recognizable to the average wine drinker. But just like most growing regions, or counties at least, have their own take on Sparkling Wine, so to do most of them have their own styles of dessert wine. Throughout Italy there are several. One of the grapes often used for making sweeter wines is Moscato. Today I’ll look at a Moscato based wine from Sicily. The Pellegrino 2008 Passito di Pantelleria was produced from 100% Moscato grapes. The fruit was sourced from the family’s own vineyards in Sicily. The vines average 20-30 years of age. This family owned winery has close to 1,000 acres under vine, mostly planted to indigenous varietals. Geographically Pellegrino is located about 80 miles south of the Marsala region. Pure alcohol is added to stop fermentation. Approximately 20% of the grapes used are dried. The suggested retail price for this selection, in standard 750 ml bottles, is $27.99.
Aromas of Nectarine and Apricot with a lighter floral undertone highlight the nose of this 2008 Sicilian dessert wine. The apricot theme continues on the palate along with both white and yellow peach notes. Tangerine and orange flavors chime in as well, helping to produce a rounded and full flavored contingent of sweet, juicy fruit flavors. Both white pepper and nutmeg characteristics are present in the above average finish of this wine; they cling to the back of the throat, leaving a lasting impression.
What most impressed me about this wine is that it has a refreshing quality that is not often present in dessert wines. Way too often dessert wines are overly sweet and cloying, making it difficult to enjoy more than a small portion. The 2008 Passito di Pantelleria is the antithesis of this. Yes it’s sweet and full flavored, but it’s not overly sticky. In fact it’s not hard to imagine sharing a bottle of this wine over a long evening with a friend or two. For a retail price of $27.99 it also represents a nice value. While this wine works perfectly well at room temperature, don’t be afraid to put a slight chill on it during the warmer months of the year. Appetizing on its own, this wine will be an excellent match for soft, ripe cheeses.