The 2010 Feudo Principi di Butera Insolia is sourced from Estate vineyards in the Butera district of the Caltanissetta Province in the heart of Sicily. Insolia is an indigenous grape grown in Sicily (also in a small area of Tuscany) that in the past was one of the grapes used in making Marsala fortified wine (Sicily’s answer to Port or Sherry), today it is commonly used to make single varietal wines. The Principi di Butera estate goes back hundreds of years and is currently operated by Zonin Family Estates. This Insolia is aged “on lees” in stainless steel tanks for 8 months. Aging “on lees” means that all the yeast and grape residue is left in tank, the additional material can give the wine a nutty quality and if the lees are stirred often enough can impart a very creamy mouthfeel to the wine, depending on what the winemaker wishes to achieve. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is golden honey yellow with a soft green glow. The nose is seductive, melons, lemons, pears and papaya surrounded by bouquets of fresh cut flowers. Insolia, where have you been all my life, it tastes of grapefruit and lime, peach and pear, just when the citrus is about to taste too sharp the fruit softens the acidity, just when the fruit is about to become sweet, the citrus sends the flavor in another direction. The mid palate adds a hint of minerality, a touch of creaminess and a slight almost salty nutty flavor. The acidity is very well balanced, more than enough to handle spicy food but not too much to make it a challenge to drink on its own. The finish is a combination of sweet fruit and sour citrus and it lasts and lasts.
I know that most people are aware that places like Chile and Argentina offer great values in wine, but I think Sicily offers wine of equal quality and value, but is largely overlooked. I think the reason Sicily is less well known is because their wines tend to feature indigenous grapes, rather the usual suspects, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, etc. Here is where I think France got it right, in France the name of the grape isn’t on the label (except on wines made to be sold in the US), because the quality of the wine has little to do with what grapes were used, who grew the grapes and where, and who made the wine has far more to do with how good the bottle of wine is. There is no variety of grape that makes wonderful wine, no matter where the vineyards were located and who made the wine, but there are vineyards and winemakers that seem to get it right the vast majority of the time. Take a chance on Sicily and enjoy the New World wines made from Old World grapes.
*this wine was received as a sample