Sicily has described a trajectory familiar to aficionados of Italian wine. A wine-producing region from time immemorial, by the mid-twentieth century its perfect viticultural conditions, along with a push from the Italian government, had led its producers into making boatloads of undistinguished jug wine. With the revived interest in native grapes and wines of place over the last twenty years, Sicilian vignaioli have shown how fine its wines can be. Judeka, a project of a group of young Sicilian winegrowers established in 2007, is in this spirit of small-production, environmentally-conscious excellence. Working out of Caltagirone, a city famous for its artisanal ceramics, Judeka incorporates the same local idiosyncrasy as well as its colors and designs for their label. Frappato is an idiosyncratic grape to work with, too. Light-colored and thin-skinned, it makes a light-bodied, cherry-flavored wine, very surprising from hot, sunny Sicily. Ruby-red in the glass, exuding a nose of dried cherries that leads to a dry, light body with dried cherry, raspberry, and red currant fruit, slightly juicy but balanced by dry tannins, present if not forceful, abetted by a sprinkling of black pepper to ballast the prettiness of the fruit. Well-balanced and a true pleasure to drink, it opens up into warmer, cedar-tinged depths as the wine breathes.
Pairing: Pair it with grilled swordfish, chicken and capers in marinara, or lamb roasted with thyme.
REGION: Vittoria, Sicily, ITALY