Passito di Pantelleria Sole di Agosto Bukkuram


100% Zibibbo. The most prominently featured word on this label, "Bukkuram", transmits what is most meaningful to the De Bartolis about this wine. It is Arabic for "father of the vineyard", which speaks to this remote Sicilian island's history, roots and tradtion; the name today is applied to the district, or contrada, favored for grape-growing by the Arabic-speaking ancient settlers who brought Zibibbo--more widely known now as Muscat of Alexandria--from their native North Africa to Pantelleria many centuries ago.  When Marco decided to bottle a passito of Zibibbo, which is the most traditional wine of the island, he chose to name it in honor of this rich history.

De Bartoli makes two of these sweet, dried-grape wines: Sole di Agosto and Padre della Vigna. The vines for both were planted between 1950 and 1970 in the Bukkuram district. These low, bush-trained vines are on volcanic terraces with southwestern exposure. The grapes for both wines are hand-harvested in two stages. The first occurs in mid-August at a normal ripeness level; these grapes are spread on mats and dried in the sun, protected by low stone walls around the periphery, for 2 to 3 weeks. Then the rest of fruit on the vine is harvested in September, at a much higher ripeness level. This second round of fruit is crushed and begins fermentation with natural yeasts; then the dried grapes from the first harvest are destemmed and added to the fresh fermenting wine and left to macerate for three months.

The difference in the two Zibibbo passito wines is in the aging. The Padre della Vigna, or "father of the vineyard" (in other words, the Italian translation of "Bukkuram"), was the first in 1984 and is the longer aged of the two. It spends 42 months in French oak barriques, followed by 6 months in stainless steel before bottling in a 500-ml format. The finishing residual sugar is approximately 194 grams/liter. The Sole d'Agosto, or "sun of August", came about much, first bottled in 2011, as a more readily available passito. It spends just  6 months in oak, followed by a few months in steel before bottling in a 750-ml. format. It sports a similar level of sugar at around 184 grams/liter but drinks slightly sweeter thanks to the more primary fruit character from the much shorter time in barrel.

92 points
"The 2022 Passito di Pantelleria Sole di Agosto opens in the glass with a surprisingly fresh burst of grapefruit zest, green melon, mint leaves and candied lime. This is weighty, with a contrasting blend of ripe orchard fruits and zesty citrus offset by tantalizing acidity and saline minerals that swirl throughout. Lemon custard and Key lime tones linger through the long and vibrant finish."
Eric Guido,
Vinous Media
June 2024

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