It’s a stellar Ben Ryé the one described by Monica Larner, through a tasting of no less than 22 vintages of Donnafugata’s prestigious label. The American journalist, responsible for Italy for The Wine Advocatemagazine founded and directed by critic Robert Parker, thus had the opportunity to produce a reportage on the most complete tasting ever performed for an Italian sweet wine.
A tasting of all the available vintages of the prodigious Ben Ryé, representative of a quarter of a century of production commitment: from the first, 1989, to the one that will soon be available on the market, 2013.
Dizzying scores achieved by almost all the bottles tasted, most notably the three vintages with 95/100 (1992, 2005 and 2006), 96/100 assigned to 2010, and 97/100 to 2008. Lastly, a superlative 98/100 to Ben Ryé vintage 2001 stands out, “a knockout wine, that represents top quality for a sweet wine. Drink now through 2045.”
The Donnafugata caveau was opened in April 2015, making available a treasure trove of bottles, some of them impossible to find now, and jealously preserved in the winery’s historic cellars in Marsala.
The reportage just published on www.erobertparker.com, recounts the epic of a company that has truly believed in the value of the heroic viticulture of Pantelleria.
An island where, to extreme conditions such as the incessant wind and steep slopes, the age-old wisdom of the Pantellerian farmer has responded with terraces, dry stone walls and the agricultural practice of the alberello vine, recently recognized as UNESCO heritage.
Visiting the island several times, exploring the vineyards planted to Zibibbo and the production techniques used for Passito di Pantelleriawine, Monica Larner has grasped the deep value of a philosophy whose pioneer was Giacomo Rallo, founder of Donnafugata: produce a naturally sweet wine of great concentration and aromatic richness, that also has astonishing freshness and elegance.
Thus was born Ben Ryé – from the Arabic son of the wind – whose longevity and qualitative constancy, highlighted by the reportage, allow one to include it at the top of the greatest sweet wines in the world together with the finest French Sauternes, Hungarian Tokaji and Icewine.
In her reportage the American journalist, who has lived in Italy since she was 11 years old, also admits she is smitten by Sicily to which she has recently dedicated a Love Letter, recounting how, right here, she took the first steps towards her brilliant career that has led her to recount Italy to an audience of millions of wine lovers around the world.
Antonio Rallo, winemaker and fifth generation of this historic wine family, says: “We had never carried out such a complete tasting; the extraordinary longevity of the older vintages exceeded our best expectations. Ben Ryé is a wine that always thrills us and rewards all our labors.”
“We welcome these acknowledgments with great joy – says José Rallo, the face and voice of Donnafugata – and we all feel the responsibility to continue to commit ourselves to honor them.”