It was when I tasted the aromatic, finely structured but refreshing Frappato produced by Azienda Agricola Cos that I first fell for Frappato's charms. This particular wine in its dumpy bottle is still my favourite example of this Italian variety from the province of Ragusa in southern Sicily, first mentioned in 1760.
Most widely planted in the area around Vittoria - although it is also found in Trapani in the northwest of the island - it has traditionally been valued for the vibrant freshness it brings to the darker-fruited and more tannic Nero d'Avola in Sicily's only DOCG, Cerasuolo di Vittoria.
More recently, a handful of producers have been making varietal wines that are red-fruited, fresh, sometimes with floral or black-olive notes adding to the fragrance.
Although the complete ancestry of Frappato has not yet been confirmed, DNA analysis suggests it is an offspring of Sangiovese, even if in the glass the family likeness is not that obvious. There were 846ha planted on Sicily in 2008.
Try Baccarìa, Cos, Feudo di Santa Tresa, Nanfro, Occhipinti, Valle dell'Acate. The Occhipinti is a distinctive style with a rather more meaty character.
Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW and José Vouillamoz; www.winegrapes.org
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