In 1988, Giuseppe Benanti, son of founder Antonio Benanti, established what is now the modern day Benanti winery. From the outset, the goal was crystal clear. The family wanted to make wines of the utmost quality and from varietals indigenous to Sicily. Although the Benanti family has Bolognese origins, their lineage has belonged to Sicily since 1734.
Their credo for winemaking is simple: “Our goal is to produce excellent wines with an innovative vision.” It’s not hard to argue that they’ve succeeded. In 2007, their flagship Bianco, Pietramarina became the first Etna wine to ever receive a Tre-Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso. Additionally, they were also named winery of the year.
The vineyards within the Etna DOC form a semi-circular ring around the ancient volcano. If you imagine your field of vision with the volcano to your left, then the DOC forms a backwards “C” along the slopes of the mountain. Benanti is unique in that it’s the only winery to own vineyards on every slope of the DOC area.
The family’s production totals approximately 170,000 bottles per year. As a result, you’d think the wines would be fairly easy to find, but that’s not often the case. One of the main reasons for that is the variety of wines produced. The cost accountant in me shudders and thinks “too many SKU’s“. Nevertheless, the variety is interesting and allows for wines of different styles and price points.
With the weather warming, I turned to one of the estate’s newest releases. Given my family ancestry, I’m always looking to try new wines from Sicily so I was excited when I found this rosato. The wine was paired wonderfully with a local baby octopus stew and then monkfish in a spicy arrabbiata sauce.
The 2021 Benanti Rosato is 100% Nerello Mascalese and obtained from vines averaging 25 years of age which sit at an elevation of as much as 1,600 feet above sea level. As a result of that altitude, the diurnal temperature swings are significant and thus. the freshness in the wine is notable.
Deeply salmon colored, the wine has an extensive array of aromas. Flowers, melon and strawberry are delicate and intense. On the palate, the brightness and freshness of the wine is delicious. Melon and berry notes are joined by refreshing acidity, dusty trace minerals and an air of salinity. This is delicious and worth the tariff; even if the latter isn’t the most friendly in the rosato arena. 90 points. Find this wine
Another creation from Chef Michele of Trattoria Mediterranea made for an excellent accompaniment to the wine. Check them out if you’re in the neighborhood! Salute!
Bring on the Summer!