Profile of Donnafugata Winery

Donnafugata Winery, Sicily, Italy

Donnafugata Winery is one of Italy’s finest wineries and praised by wine critics and wine lovers alike all over the globe. Located in Sicily, Donnafugata has various estates including the historic cellar in Marsala, the beautiful Contessa Entellina country house and vineyards in the western interior of the island, and another winery and estate in the windswept island of Pantelleria off Sicily’s southwest coast. The Rallo family who own Donnafugata have been in the wine business for over a century and the current generation are extremely dynamic and visionary. The Donnafugata brand was born in the early 1980´s by Giacomo and Gabriella Rallo in the family’s historic cellars and today their children José and Antonio play prominent roles in the company. Even the grandchildren Ferdinando and Gabriella pitch in at the winery by posing as adorable Bacchus figures in the ads

The term “Donna Fugata” translates as “Fleeing woman” and is a reference to the Bourbon King Ferdinand IV´s Hapsburg wife Queen Maria Carolina who in the early 1800´s had to flee their court at Naples (under Spanish rule at the time) when Napoleon’s troops arrived. They fled for Sicily to the country estates of a local prince, and the whole story is immortalized in the famous Sicilian novel “Il Gattopardo” by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. This story was the inspiration for the name of the brand (their vineyards are located in the same area where the king and queen stayed in Sicily), and also for the image of the woman with the flowing hair on all of the wine labels.

Donnafugata is known for its exceptional wide range of wines, made with native varietals such as Ansonica (also known as Inzolia), Catarratto, Zibbibo and Nero d´Avola as well as international varietals like Viognier. While we love all of their wines, we must admit we have a few personal favorites, which include the exquisite “Ben Ryé” (their famed Passito from far flung Pantelleria), the silky “Polena” made with Catarratto and Viognier, and the velvety “Mille e una Notte” (dominated by the native Nero d´Avola grape).

Visit Donnafugata on one of our luxury wine tours in Sicily! The Marsala cellars are in easy reach of Palermo and apart from visits and tastings, we can also organize a fantastic and unique jazz and wine event with the lovely José Rallo (who is not only a key figure at Donnafugata winery but also a famed singer who has performed all over the world and recorded various CDs). We will include one of her beautiful CDs in your visit, whose proceeds go to social projects and NGOs in Sicily, all founded by the winery

Wines Produced

Anthìlia Made with half and half Ansonica and Catarratto, aged in bottle 2 months before released to market, 12.5-13% alc
Polena Catarratto and Viognier blend, 14% alc, 3 months fining in bottle, first vintage was in 2006
Lighea Blend of Zibibbo (vinified in Pantelleria) and Ansonica and Catarratto, 12.5-13%. Lighea was the bewitching siren in Tomasi di Lampedusa´s novel
La Fuga 100% Chardonnay, aged in tanks for several months and in bottle at least 3 months before release, 13-13.5% alc. Grapes harvested at night.
Vigna di Gabri 100% Ansonica, 13-13.5%, 90% wine aged in stainless steel and 10% in French oak barriques, bottle aged min 3 months before release. One of Sicily´s first high end single varietal Ansonicas.
Chiarandà 50% Chardonna, 50% Ansonica, 133.5-14% alc, from two single vineyards. With this wine, Donnafugata joined the Wine For Life initiave to help battle Aids in Africa
Sedàra 100% Nero d´Avola, 13-14%. Aged 9 months in tanks and further 3 months in bottle
Sherazade 50% Nero d´Avola, 50% Syrah, 14% alc. Sherazade is the protagonist in the Thousand and One Nights novel.
Angheli 50% Nero d´Avola, 50% Merlot, aged in French oak for one year and in bottle min 6 months after
Tancredi 70% Nero d´Avola, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5-14% alc., Aged in French oak barrels for 12-14 months and in bottle min 10 months
Mille e una Notte 90% Nero d´Avola, 10% mixed varietals, aged in French barrique 14-16 months and min 12 months in bottle
Kabir 100% Zibbibo (also known as Moscato d´Alessandria), 11.5-12.5 % alc, naturally sweet. “Kabir” comes from the Arabic “The Great”
Ben Ryé 100% Zibbibo (also known as Moscato d´Alessandria), 14.5 % alc, the grapes for this Passito from Pantelleria come from 11 different parcels around the island.

Winery Details

Appellations:DOC Moscato di Pantelleria, DOC Passito di Pantelleria, IGT Sicilia, DOC Contessa Entellina
Founded:1984 as current brand
Owner:Rallo family
Winemaker:Stefano Valla
Age of Vines:ranges, the oldest one is 100 years in Pantelleria
Grape Varietals:Ansonica, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Viognier, Zibbibo, Nero d´Avola, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

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