The grapes to produce the “Vigna di Gabri” Donnafugata were softly pressed and the must was fermented at 14-16°C in stainless steel tanks. 85% of the wine matured in cement vats and 15% on its lees in second use French oak barriques for seven months. The wine was then aged for at least 8 months in bottle before release.
The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Vigna di Gabri vineyard, on the Contessa Entellina estate in south-west Sicily. The vineyard stands at an altitude of between 200-300 metres above sea level. Soils are clay loam and rich in nutrients. The vines are trained on a vertical shoot position system and cordon spur pruned. Average planting density is 4,500 – 6,000 vines per hectare and yields are approximately six tonnes per hectare.
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.