In some strange and decidedly unscientific way, there are two kinds of wine.
There are those wines that make you forget; streets you’ve walked down, dirty, wide or narrow, unique as they are, houses you’ve lived in and how you were rich or poor in them, stones you’ve thrown into the water as a barefoot child, what is real and what is false.
Then there are the wines that make you dream; visions of great cities and palaces, sailing routes across ancient seas, golden mosaics, secret passageways, the ruined and the glorious.
Every once and a while, you find a wine whose emotional impact makes you do both.
Such is the case with Ben Ryé, a naturally sweet white wine from the island of Pantelleria, produced by Donnafugata.
Named from Arabic for “Son of the Wind”, in reference to the constant wind sweeping Pantelleria’s grape clusters, Ben Ryé is produced from the native Italian wine grape known as Zibibbo or Moscato di Alessandria.
Grown in volcanic, mineral rich soil at altitudes between 20 and 400 meters, grapes are selected and hand-harvested into crates, and undergo a period of withering. Fermentation is carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel tank. Dried grapes, de-stemmed and hand-selected, are added to fresh must in batches. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 7 months followed by an additional 12 months in bottle.
I’ve been fortunate to experience Ben Ryé on many occasions, and recently, while in Verona at Vinitaly 2016, I had an opportunity to taste Ben Ryé poured by José Rallo of Donnafugata, with time for a photo as well.
Honeyed fig and apricot, orange peel, citrus, caramel and pistachio nut, Mediterranean scrub bush. Remarkably balanced, penetrating harmony and unique freshness. Insanely long finish. An excess of deliciousness.
Enjoy Ben Ryé with desserts like ricotta-filled cannoli or as an accompaniment to quiet time … reading, listening to music, falling in love … and certainly … to forgetting and dreaming 😉