Alessandro Portelli, who works alongside his father, Salvatore, is of the fifth generation to tend to his family’s land in Vittoria, in the southeastern corner of Sicily. Originally founded in 1863 by Basilio Portelli, the estate was one of the first growers in the Vittoria area to grow their own grapes, vinify their own wine and sell it in bottle. Today, the estate grows Frappato and Nero d’Avola (known locally as Calabrese) from certified organic vineyards and following traditional agricultural techniques in the vein of Biodynamic winemaking. Benefiting from the wealth of experience cultivated by their family over many years and adhering to their winemaking philosophies, Alessandro and Salvatore continue to harvest by hand, employ spontaneous fermentation and age wines exclusively in stainless steel tank in order to craft fresh, vibrant versions of their beloved native grapes. A fairly small and niche operation, the estate produces 2400 cases annually of 3 wines total: a Cerasuolo di Vittoria (a blend of Calabrese and Frappato), a Calabrese and this Frappato which we were stoked to procure for the wine club before it hastily sold out!
Believed to be a genetic cousin of Tuscany’s preeminent Sangiovese grape, Frappato is Sicily’s answer to a food-friendly, versatile and easily loveable red. Generally fermented and aged in stainless steel tank exclusively (as this version is), Frappato is often blended with the more robust Nero d’Avola grape in Sicily’s sole DOCG, Cerasuolo di Vittoria. However, we love the clean and fresh versions of 100% Frappato like this 2016 Portelli Vittoria that showcases vibrant aromas of black cherry, plum, raspberry and violet on the nose. The light to medium-bodied palate is marked by a bright and slightly tangy acidity accompanied by vivid notes of red raspberry, bing cherry and juicy pluot. The slightly grippy tannins and lively acidity make this ideal for a variety of rich or tomato-laden foods such as pizza, porchetta or a slow-cooked ragu over pasta.