2021 Feudo Maccari, Grillo “Olli” Noto Valley, Sicilia DOC, Italy.
I was asked to do a dive into Grillo, a varietal that is one of the signature white grapes of Sicily and was thrilled by some of the recommendations I got and in particular this 2021 Feudo Maccari “Olli” version with its exceptional purity, racy fruit, mineral driven character and intense aromatic quality. As I have noted before, Grillo, thought to be a crossing of Catarratto and Moscato di Alessandria (called Zibibbo in Sicily) grapes, was once used exclusively in Marsala production, but has since started to gain traction as an alternative white wine throughout the southern part of the island with many fine producers doing excellent examples of solo varietal and or blended wines. This medium bodied, pale gold and zesty wine shows the grape’s best features, retaining acidity, while having a graceful textural feel and its fresh floral bouquet of jasmine and orange blossoms with a combination of tangerine, peach, quince and preserved lemon fruits along with salty stones, spearmint, bitter herbs and exotic spices. Grillo, which is also known as Riddu and Rossese Bianco in other regions of Italy, is a white grape variety that can withstand high temperatures and though Its origins are uncertain, but it may have been introduced into the island of Sicily from Apulia a good time ago. It was I believe first documented as being planted in the province of Trapani back in 1897, though again, there’s still a good bit of mystery as to its beginnings. Grillo, as seen like this Feudo Maccari, is a fabulous sea food wine and goes with a wide array of cuisine options, from native Sicilian dishes such as grilled octopus to Middlleastern dishes like lemon chicken and couscous.
The Feudo Maccari, located in Sicily’s Noto Valley, was born in 2000, the creation of Antonio Moretti Cuseri, who it is said started his Sicilian adventure in this remote region that has a mix of volcanic and calcareous soils and old school head trained vines that are at about 250 feet of elevation and within a mile or so of the sea. Feudo Maccari has both Nero d’Avola and Grillo here and both benefit from the climate and make for very elegant and aromatic examples of these native grapes, especially this beautifully perfumed and energy filled Grillo. The Grillo saw exclusively stainless steel tank fermentation and aging with just a short lees contact and was bottled quickly to preserve the wine’s lively nature and fresh details. Grillo, in modern times is grown throughout Sicily where it has achieved arguably its best results as a fine wine, and I have to agree, especially with the latest releases I’ve tried, like this Feudo Maccari, along with stuff I’ve sampled from Di Giovanna and the more unique COS Pithos, amphora raised white, by Giusto Occhipinti and his niece’s wines, with Arianna Occhipinti doing her Tami white with 100% Grillo and adding a little of it with Zibibbo for her 68 Bianco, all of which show the range of this grape. Not forgetting to mention the grape’s history in Marsala, expressed brilliantly by the late Marco De Bartoli’s versions, like the 100% Grillo Vigna La Miccia 5 year Riserva, made now by his children Renato, Sebio & Gipi. I am a fan of Sicily’s white wines from Carricante, found on Mount Etna, to Catarratto, Zibibbo and Grillo, I highly recommend taking a look at them and exploring the many different regions of this amazing island, which has so much to offer and searching out this outstanding value by Feudo Maccari.
($18 ESt.) 93 Points, grapelive