Beautiful landscape of Etna Volcano and the various soil influences

Frappato is most likely a native of southeastern Sicily, where its presence has been documented since at least the seventeenth century.  Recent DNA studies have suggested a parent-child relationship between Frappato and Sangiovese, and that the Frappato could be a brother of the Gaglioppo variety of Calabria.

Usually, the Frappato shows medium-sized clusters, pyramidal, compact, and with oval berries of medium size. At least two biotypes of Frappato are known, the most popular is Type B characterized by smaller and more compact clusters and a tendency to produce wines that are slightly lower in total acidity and pH. Frappato loves hot, dry conditions, so it is an ideal companion of Nero d’Avola.

Soil Composition

According to a 2011 census, there are 803 hectares of Frappato in Sicily. This vine gives its best when grown on sandy-calcareous red soils such as those of the Vittoria area. Moving closer and closer to the coast, lower-lying Frappato vineyards obtain increasing proportions of sand allowing for production to flourish.  On clay-rich soils, Frappato produces less fragrant and less fine wines. A zone considered grand cru is that between Pedalino and Acate, as well as Bastonica.

 

Soil of Frappato vineyard

Frappato vineyard soils are often rich in iron oxides that have a shallow water table and salt accumulation.  Soils also have larger amounts of organic matter accumulation on the surface or hard limestone in the depth.  This region’s soil is characterized by intensive use, both agricultural and extra-agricultural.  Although settlements don’t cover to a very high portion of the territory, they are concentrated in the most fragile part of the region, near the Mediterranean coast and often on the most fertile soils.  

Soils also vary depending on location to sea level.

Frappato Grape

Quality

There are very few varietal bottlings of Frappato, as it is often used as a blending grape with Nero d’Avola. As the quality of Sicilian wine is at an all time high, Frappato is gaining popularity exponentially. Aging beautifully in the short to mid-term depending on the vintage, Frappato loses some freshness but gains in elegance and complexity.

The highest quality wines of Frappato are most definitely Cerasuolo di Vittoria wines; the blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola. The quality of Cerasuolo di Vittoria has remained high since the promotion among producers who consistently demonstrate the wine style and quality. Because of Cerasuolo di Vittoria’s impressive reputation, Frappato has gained recognition and value among many wine consumers.

Flavor Profile

Despite needing close attention to color development, Frappato retains its acidity well basking in the warm of Southern Sicily. This acidity is what adds the acid backbone to Nero D’Avola in Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Frappato is one of the first berry varieties to develop body, but one of the last to reach ripeness. Frappato has the same softening effect that the Canaiolo Nero with Sangiovese in Tuscany or Malvasia Nera Negroamaro in Puglia.

Primary - Grape Influences

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has more vineyards than any other region of Italy. For more than 2,500 year Sicily has been an important center of viticulture in the Mediterranean, although its reputation is not as prestigious as it once was. Blessed with an increasingly bright sunshine and moderate rainfall, the classic Mediterranean climate here is ideal for the needs of growing grapes. These influences are what allow Frappato a good concentration of terpenic compounds; giving Frappato its floral and blossom aromas.

"The Mediterranean Sea reflects the intense Sicilian sunshine back up
onto the vines
glinting away far below."

 

Usually, the Frappato shows medium-sized clusters, pyramidal, compact, and with oval berries of medium size. At least two biotypes of Frappato are known, the most popular is Type B characterized by smaller and more compact clusters and a tendency to produce wines that are slightly lower in total acidity and pH. Frappato loves hot, dry conditions, so it is an ideal companion of Nero d’Avola.

Yellow Soils
Located along the coast, where the earth has a sandy-clay structure and yellow colored soils.  The soil is relatively light and provides wines with freshness and complex scents.   

White Soil
Calcareous soil roughly 250 meters above sea level that is somewhat poor and has extends deep.  The grapevines often suffer a little here and sometimes fail to grow vigorously, but allows for a stronger fruit concentration.

Black Soil with White Pebbles
Located roughly 100 meters above sea level.  The soil is black, relatively compact and riddled with white stones.  This soil structure makes it possible for plant roots to oxygenate freely, extending down deep into the ground.

Red Soil
This soil structure is divided between clear red sand and dark, medium density soil with good depth.  The grapevines planted in dark red soil produce are ideal for Nero d’Avola and the vines planted in clear red soil are best for Frappato.  

Secondary - Fermentation Influences

Frappato, also known in the past as Surra or Black Captain, is a variety that we owe some of the most delicious wines of Sicily to. The fate of Frappato has fundamentally improved due to modern technology and knowledge. Vitiners started in the region in the early 1980s, using temperature-controlled stainless steel to better extract a little more colour from the pale Frappato. The use of temperature-controlled stainless steel was a turning point for the viticulture in the area. Before this, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, the flavorful wine made from Frappato, was light in color because there were three kinds of maceration: 12, 24, or 36 hours without temperature control. The lack of temperature control caused Frappato to quickly lose its color pigments at the higher temperatures.

Wine Style

A good Frappato will be medium-bodied, slightly tannic, pale red, and have fragrant notes of cherry, violet, and dried herbs.  The most famous wine from grapes of Frappato, is the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, which should not be confused with the Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo; Abruzzo being the name of the local rosé.A good Frappato will be medium-bodied, slightly tannic, pale red, and have fragrant notes of cherry, violet, and dried herbs.  The most famous wine from grapes of Frappato, is the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, which should not be confused with the Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo; Abruzzo being the name of the local rosé. “Cerasuolo” in this case means “cherry,” in reference to the cherry aromas found in wine. Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG is produced in the province of Ragusa from Frappato and Calabrese (Nero d’Avola). By law it is made with 50-70% Nero d’Avola and 30-50% Frappato. In Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Frappato provides cherry fragrance and an acid lift to blend, Nero D’Avola adds flesh and structure. Intense and fragrant, it perfectly matches with local cuisine and red sauce seafood. Wines produced from Frappato grapes like Cerasuolo di Vittoria pair exceptionally with light dishes such as sautéed duck, stuffed zucchini, lamb stuffed potato pancakes, and Palermo’s pizza.

Vintages

  • 2016: Fragrant and fresh, this savory Frappato has alluring scents of wild rose and ripe red berry. The crisp juicy palate doles out crushed raspberry, strawberry, Mediterranean herb and a hint of citrus zest. Bright acidity gives it a tangy, mouthwatering finish.
  • 2015: Bright and savory, this opens with enticing aromas of wild berry, fragrant blue flower, rose and a whiff of exotic spice. The silky, easy-drinking palate offers succulent Marasca cherry, black raspberry, white pepper and a hint of clove alongside lithe tannins and fresh acidity.
  • 2014:  Fragrant and fresh, this luminous wine opens with aromas of red berry, blueberry, violet, white rose, and a potpourri of spice while the savory palate doles out crushed raspberry, juicy morello cherry and white pepper.  It’s easy drinking, thanks to tangy acidity and light, silky tannins.
  • 2013: This fragrant, light-bodied and savory Sicilian red opens with intense aromas of blue flower, rose, and red berries. The bright, silky palate delivers juicy strawberry, crushed red cherry, and white pepper alongside fresh acidity.
  • 2012: Tilled earth, game, red berry, and orange peel aromas lead the nose on this concentrated wine.  The ripe, savory palate delivers fleshy sour cherry, crushed raspberry, notes of baking spice, mineral and a suggestion of game.  It’s delicious, with an earthy charm that gives it a distinct character.
  • 2011:A bright and delicious wine made with the native grape Frappato.  It opens with intense fruity aromas of crushed strawberry, Morello cherry and orange peel that continue onto the palate along with nutmeg, white pepper, and vibrant acidity.  Chill for 15 minutes for a perfect summer red.
  • 2010: It’s a light, crisp red wine (serve it slightly chilled) with bright berry aromas of blueberry and wild strawberry.  It’s informal but attractively layered at the same time. A seriously fun wine that would pair with pasta, pizza, or even spicy Indian food.
  • 2009: Light, fruity red wine that is often vinified in stainless steel to maintain its lively raspberry and blueberry flavors.  It can be served slightly chilled and goes down easily with vegetables, veal or white meat.
  • 2008:  This is an exceptionally tight and compact wine with sharp aromas of berry fruit, almond, clove, and cola.  It’s elegant and light in color with a tonic and crisp feel on the close.
Beautiful landscape of vineyard on the sea

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