2018 Nino Barraco Vignamare
Region: Marsala < Sicily < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; 24-hour maceration on the skin, basket pressed then fermented in concrete; bottled unfined/unfiltered with no added SO2; 10.5% ABV
Winemaker: Nino Barraco
Like so many new generation Italian winemakers, Nino took over his family’s vineyards in 2004 and started working organically, using only the native grapes of his Western Sicily, and focusing on single vineyard expressions of the grapes. Note: in Western Sicily, this is all very rare. As are his wines, which really taste like Marsala, a barren stretch of coastline with dry winds, golden light and an omnipresent sea. Nino’s wines are aromatically intense, mysteriously light and incredibly saline.
Like this wine, 100% Grillo from a vineyard which sits on a sand dune, right by the Mediterranean. Grapes are picked early, in the middle of August, to ensure that the acid is high and the alcohol stays low. The juice is gently pressed in old-school baskets, never seeing wood or any sort of manipulation or additive. The result is a salty, sun-kissed coastal white that is light and refreshing yet sports impressive fruit and texture for it's tight 10.5% ABV package.
All of Nino’s wine are made in a reductive style to protect them from oxygen, since he adds no sulfur. Which means this wine can be (but isn't always) a bit onion-smelling when you first open. If you notice, this just know that THIS IS NORMAL. She just needs to breathe. Here's what you do: decant into a pitcher – nothing fancy, something with a wide opening. Wait 20 minutes and pour a glass. Smell, sip, enjoy, then pour another glass 30 minutes later. It will be completely different, more alive. So cool to watch it evolve!