Summertime and the living’s easy….isn’t that how the song goes? As summer wines down the heat in Texas likes to hang on till mid-September. By now I am ready for cooler days but still take advantage of the heat by using the grill most nights of the week. Donnafugata is an awesome addition to summer. In fact, I have come to look forward to receiving their wines about this time each year. Get ready for a great summer food and wine pairing!
The Wines: Donnafugata, founded in Sicily by the Rallo family beginning in 1983. Today Donnafugata has vineyards in Marsala, Contessa Entellina, and the island of Pantelleria. The two wines I am pairing are part of Donnafugata’s “Fresh and Fruity” collection. Perfect for summer! Both wines were received as media samples; all opinions are my own.
Donnafugata SurSur Grillo Sicilia DOC 2015: This wine was crafted of 100% Grillo; it poured a straw yellow into the glass; summertime fruit salad of peaches, grapefruit, lime zest, melon along with white flowers cascade from the glass; crisp and racy on the palate with lively citrus zest and zesty acidity coat the palate; perfect pleasing with light summer cuisine and refreshing to sip on its own; 13% ABV so refreshing in the summer heat; SRP $23
Art & Wine: Grillo is an ancient autochthonous variety from Sicily, but it is also a cute little animal (the cricket) that brings good luck. The name sur sur, that means cricket, comes from the Arabic language which was once also spoken in Sicily. The voice of spring, with its scents and colors, is depicted on the label. It shows Gabriella as a girl in flight, running barefoot through the flowers and fresh grass, following the singing of crickets that sounds sweet to her ears, like a thousand “SurSur…”
Donnafugata Sherazade Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC 2015: This wine was crafted of 100% Nero d’Avola; it poured a beautiful ruby with violet hues in the glass; summer berry aroma of cherries, black berries, raspberries were met with a touch of spice; fullness of nose delivers on the palate in a simple yet elegant form; easy to drink with a pleasing tart fruit finish and completely integrated tannins; open and enjoy upon purchase slightly chilled to beat the summer heat; ABV 13.5% SRP $23
Art & Wine: “… Sherazade had read books and writings of all sorts, even essays and medical treatises. She had memorized a great number of poems and tales, had learned folk proverbs, the precepts of philosophers, the maxims of kings. In effect, she wasn’t satisfied with being intelligent and sensible; she also wanted to be erudite and knowledge about literature; And she hadn’t just browsed through the books she had read; she had carefully studied them all…” (The Thousand and One Nights)
The Food Pairing: SurSur Grillo claims notes of peaches and citrus with herbal notes. Sherazade said to expect red berry aromas with soft spice notes and mild pepper. I immediately conjure up a grilled fruit, meat, salad dinner al fresco with these two lovely light wines.
My Choice: I immediately thought of grilled peaches with herbal goat cheese and a balsamic glaze drizzle to pair with the SurSur. Additionally, I have sausage on the brain since I had the most amazing lamb sausage at a Bella Grace wine and food dinner so I immediately thought to pair the Sherazade with grilled sausage and a spiced jelly along with a spinach salad topped with a bacon vinaigrette. Since I always pick the pairings before I taste the wine let’s see how this one came together.
The Results: What a great Sunday night dinner! I chose to go with a chicken Italian sausage that I sautéed on the grill in a cast iron skillet with the peaches cooking on the grates. The wines were a perfect accompaniment to a light summer time meal. Grilling the peaches brings out some of their natural sugar, top that with herbed goat cheese and balsamic glaze and really the peaches paired great with both wines. Furthermore, the lightness of the chicken sausage and the spinach salad with a light pomegranate vinaigrette and again we had a course that paired equally well with both wines. What a treat to have two wines that are so versatile and pair so easily with summer foods. I think my husband thanked me five times!
About Donnafugata from their web site:
The name Donnafugata, literally ‘woman in flight’ refers to the history of Queen Maria Carolina, wife of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, who fled Naples in the early 1800s on the arrival of Napoleon’s troops, seeking refuge in the part of Sicily where the winery’s vineyards now stand. hair found on every bottle. It was Sicilian author Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa in his novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) who gave thename Donnafugata to the country estates of the Prince of Salina. The estate was where the queen stayed, and it now holds the winery’s vineyards.
Donnafugata is committed to the environment through practices such as: sustainable agriculture practices, night harvest, architectural construction of low environmental impact, use of solar panels for energy and a focus on maintaining the smallest carbon footprint possible.
I encourage you to visit Donnafugata’s web site to learn more about the winery, view their entire portfolio of wines and listen to their great music. Please share your Donnafugata food and wine pairings on Twitter using #grillo and finish your summer Sicilian style!
My Song Selection: This song choice is inspired by my interpretation of the beautiful woman dancing with the wine glass on the Sherazade label. Furthermore, these wines are so perfect for summer and make such versatile food wines it makes me want to dance!
What are some of your favorite wine and food pairings?
Get your own bottles of Donnafugata wines and let me know what song you pair with th