I’ve always had a soft spot for what you might call the ‘underdog’ varietals. Oftentimes blended into oblivion with other more notable grapes, these unique and generally old if not ancient varietals take some time to achieve the spotlight they deserve. Frappato is one of those incredible gems, hailing from Vittoria in the province of Ragusa, not far from the sea in southeastern Sicily. For decades, Frappato’s identity has been intertwined with and overshadowed by the more famous Nero D’Avola grape with which it is blended to create Sicily’s only DOCG wine: Cerasuola di Vittoria. Yet, thanks to Frappato’s many endearing qualities, more and more single varietal bottlings are popping up like the delicious Portelli Vittoria we are featuring in our monthly Red Wine Club. Frappato, which is a thin-skinned, sun-worshiping varietal, is believed to be somehow related to Sangiovese, however it is generally lighter, less earthy and more floral in tone. Boasting a high concentration of aromatic components (terpenes), Frappato generally exhibits pretty notes of strawberry and pomegranate along with subtle fragrant baking spices, although it can showcase darker fruits like black cherry or plum. The consistent markings include a beautiful balance between clean and vivid fruit notes, acidity and tannins. Relatively light yet offering a full-flavored, fruity/spicy quality, Frappato is an ideal food wine that pairs wonderfully with pizza, red sauce pastas and is an ideal Thanksgiving dinner wine.