An elegant wine, able to evolve in the bottle and give the best of itself over time.
In 1987 Gabriella Rallo was an avant-garde grape grower, for more than 10 years she had been working in the Contessa Entellina vineyards, studying, experimenting and comparing results with Italian and international viticulture, paying particular attention to very sunny territories like Sicily.
By her side was her husband Giacomo Rallo, with whom she shared her enthusiasm and a dream: Donnafugata. A new style of Sicilian wine: fragrant and fresh.
This was the challenge that led to Vigna di Gabri: an elegant wine with great finesse and, above all, the ability to evolve in the bottle and give the best of itself over time.
And so the appropriate vineyard and grape variety were chosen, along with yield per hectare and, more generally, the grape growing techniques needed to reach a foliage/fruit balance, ensuring the right amount of acidity, sugars and aromatic richness for the grapes that would go into Vigna di Gabri.
Gabriella and Giacomo chose an indigenous variety, widely grown in western Sicily but little known outside the island: Ansonica (also known as Insolia). An ancient vine variety with white grapes, typically flavorful and finely balanced between crispness and softness. Grown on a single vineyard covering 7 hectares (17.5 acres) at Contessa Entellina where limestone-rich clayey soil gives the wine freshness, longevity and great minerality. Due to the extreme day and night temperature range (differences of even 20 °C/ 68°F), Ansonica succeeds in expressing delicate varietal notes. The right profile for the Donnafugata cru.
Giacomo dedicated the wine to Gabriella (“Gabri”), thus the name and now also the label tell the story of this woman, in love with her vineyard. Vigna di Gabri is not an invented name, but the name of the person who desired this wine, believing in Ansonica’s charming bouquet of aromas.
Vigna di Gabri has become a fine and elegant wine, with intense and complex fragrances, fruity apple scents and acacia flowers stand out, blended with salty and mineral notes. A wine that is both delicate and persistent, like a gentle and determined woman. Year after year the goal of longevity has been reached and confirmed by technical staff tastings: an excellent example is the 1998 Vigna di Gabri, a rich and elegant vintage where the notes of pastry blend perfectly with a still-vibrant mineral streak.
With the 2011 vintage Donnafugata celebrates Vigna di Gabri’s 25th anniversary. Fans will enjoy collecting bottles with the anniversary label: a special collector’s edition bearing Gabriella’s signature, that will never be replicated. Finally, to celebrate this milestone, Vigna di Gabri has also been bottled as a magnum, a 1.5-liter bottle that is most suitable for long aging.
From 1987 to the present day there have been no changes in the vineyard training system or the winemaking techniques: yield per vine remains very low, amounting to about a bottle per plant; aging in vats on the fine lees for 85% to 90%, and the rest in French oak barriques. On the other hand, much work has been done on the blend, from the studies on the climatic conditions of the cru: seeking greater complexity, it was decided to experiment with adding other white grapes (Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Catarratto), which, year by year, led to a change of the blend while maintaining the dominance of Ansonica.
For Gabriella and Giacomo it’s hard to believe that a quarter of a century has passed. They celebrate this milestone with their children, José and Antonio, who now run the winery, and together they toast to the future.
Baldo M. Palermo [email protected] tel. 0039 0923 7242267
Laura Ellwanger [email protected] te. 0039 0923 724258