Am I only dreaming?
Planeta Frappato Vittoria 2015
I legit cannot believe I’m currently writing about this wine. I can’t believe I’m writing about this wine after drinking it at my house and that I have more bottles in the basement. I can’t believe I’m doing all that after buying this wine at the LCBO.
This is a special wine. When I saw it in the LCBO Vintages magazine I thought I was dreaming (I was, in fact, half asleep and reading on my phone before getting up for the day). But I wasn’t and it’s real and I drank it at home and you can too!
So what’s so special about this wine? Where do I even start?
First of all: it’s a Frappato. A what-a-to? Exactly.
Frappato is a rare and elusive grape that, until recently, was almost never vinified as a varietal wine. It’s pretty much only grown in Sicily (home to the hippest volcanic soils around) and it’s the stuff of somm wet dreams: it’s light, it’s bright, it’s high acid, low tannin, and complex; it’s fruity, floral, and approachable; it’s food friendly and so pretty in the glass. And almost none of it ever makes its way to us. In fact, I would put money on it that this is the first Frappato the LCBO has ever released.
Traditionally, Frappato is blended with Nero d’Avola to create Sicily’s only DOCG wine (that’s the top stuff): Cerasuolo di Vittoria. But then some geniuses decided to try it on its own, and it was magic.
This particular bottle is 100% Frappato from a fairly new winery (they planted their first vineyard in 1985 and released their first wines in the mid-1990s) run by the Planeta family, who have deep roots in the region (they’ve been farming the land for centuries). They practice sustainable and eco-friendly farming and vinification, which is not only good for the earth, it’s good for the wine. And the results? Amazing. Seriously - if you take care of your vines, the earth, and your community, you will just end up making better wine. True story.
This is only the third vintage of Frappato they’ve made and it’s so good. It’s everything I want in a summer red, in a light red, in a red in general.
It’s fresh, aromatic, and oh so flavourful. It was fabulous chilled with salad and a summery tomato tart, but equally amazing after it warmed up a bit for an after dinner sip. The bottle disappeared too quickly and I had to hold back from grabbing another from my cellar. (I’ve been compulsively checking the LCBO stock lists because I’m terrified that it’s going to sell out before I have a chance to re-up and it was just released on September 2.)
If you buy only one wine I’ve written about this year, make it this one. If you like Gamay, you’ll like it. If you like Italian wines, you’ll like it. If you like me, you’ll like it. And if you don’t like it, I’ll finish the bottle. That’s a pinky promise.
Nose: Bright, ripe red fruit, strawberry, earthy summer smells; a bit pomegranate, a bit beet, a bit mint and thyme, spices, and of course that volcanic minerality.
Palate: Oh it’s so good. So bright and so fresh. It just fills your mouth with this luscious, bright fruit. It’s such a joy to drink. It’s like biting into a perfect summer strawberry or cherry: sweet without being sweet, tart without being obnoxious. The pomegranate shows up again, along with the earthy, herbal crunchy minerality. It’s got some lively acidity, which takes the form of blood orange. It actually kind of reminded me of the cranberry sauce I make for turkey-based holiday feasts: blood orange, tart cranberries, and a cinnamon stick. Kind of. It’s just really complex and delicious, and in the recording of my tasting note I say “it’s really fucking good” at least 4 times. So there’s that.