Donnafugata, ‘Ben Ryé’, Passito di Pantelleria
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Ben Ryé is the luscious “passito” sweet wine from the little island of Pantelleria off southern-western Sicily where old Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria) vines are grown using the traditional “alberello pantesco” bush-training system. Vines are planted in hollows in the ground, at altitudes of 20-400 metres above sea level on terraced, sandy slopes of volcanic origin. The low bush vines of Pantelleria have been described on the Unesco World Heritage List as a ‘creative and sustainable practice’. The vines are more than 100 years old and are ungrafted. Grapes were hand harvested and carefully selected in the vineyards. After reaching the winery, they underwent selection on a vibrating table before soft pressing. After fermentation, ageing took place in stainless steel tanks for eight months with at least a further 12 months in bottle before release. Dried grapes give an intense honey, apricots and almond finish. The name Ben Ryé derives from the Arabic ‘Son of the Wind’, after the wind which sweeps round the island. It matches with caramelised duck, foie gras and blue cheeses. It goes well with pastries and gourmet chocolate. Serve at 14C.