To produce the Nero d’Avola “Sherazade” Donnafugata, after gentle pressing, the must was fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks with a 6-8 day maceration on the skins at 24-25°C. Following malolactic fermentation, the wine remained in tank for four months before bottling. It then spent almost three months in bottle before release.
The fruit for Sherazade comes from South-western Sicily. The vineyards are planted on clay loam soils, rich in nutritive elements and total limestone from 20 to 35%. The altitude is between 200 – 400 metres above sea level. Since the 2009 vintage, Sherazade has been made solely from Nero d’Avola grapes, which are planted at approximately 5,000 vines per hectare, trained using vertical shoot positioning and spur pruned.
The Rallo family is the Donnafugata Estate owners and has made wine in Marsala since 1851. Their ancient cellars tunnel are situated beneath the city. They were one of the first families to begin making high quality table wine when sales of traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region’s native varieties. Today, Donnafugata has four estates in Sicily: a modern winery and 283 hectares at Contessa Entellina in the hills east of Marsala; 36 hectares in Vittoria to the south eastern point of the island; 68 hectares on the island of Pantelleria; and 18 hectares on the slopes of Etna. Donnafugata means ‘fleeing woman’ and is a reference to Queen Maria Carolina, who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th century with her husband, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, when Napoleon’s troops arrived. The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and depicted on the ‘Mille e una Notte’ label.