2017 Marco De Bartoli ‘Lucido’ Catarratto
Region: Trapani < Sicily < Italy
Grapes: Catarrato Lucido
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; 2 hectares of 15-year-old vines are planted on sandy loam soils; the fruit is cooled, whole-cluster-pressed and naturally settled before fermentation with native yeasts in stainless steel vats; aged on its fine lees in steel for 7 months, then bottled unfined/unfiltered with <30ppm SO2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Marco de Bartoli
Marco di Bartoli comes from a Marsala-producing family. He wandered for a while, became a race car driver among other random things, but found his way back to the family business, intent on changing up the status quo – which in his region was pretty industrial. He moved all farming to organics, insisted on hand harvesting in a machine-driven wine region, worked only with estate-grown grapes and fully ripened, un-chapitalized fruit (instead of adding sugar), and native yeast fermentations. Marco passed a few years back, but his adult children Renato, Sebastiano and Giuseppina are continuing the good work started by their papa.
Catarratto is the most planted grape in Sicily (and the 2nd in Italy). Suffice to say, it's pretty ubiquitous on the boot. But there's an unusual Catarratto type called Lucido, featured in this bottling, whose berries have a less powdery but more shiny surface and more potential for greatness, like his Lucido demonstrates here. It’s intense and complex, super aromatic on the nose and palate, but bone dry, with exotic flavor notes (bitter almonds, orange water, cardamom and white flowers), a round, waxy texture and bright acidity. Would be lovely with a Moroccan feast -- tagine, couscous and a whole parade of veg and salad sides. If that’s too much of a stretch these days (we get it), it’s also perfect at 5pm on a Tuesday, as a reward for making it through yet another double-Pandemic day….