Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
The suave and debonair Travelling Gourmet jets to Italy on…
MARVELLOUS Turkish Airlines to Venice…and then to explore the wind swept island of Pantelleria of the biggest island in the Mediterranean that is SICILY! Here I saw first hand the ‘heroic viticulture’ and winemaking of trend setting Donnafugata which creates some FABULOUS wines like one of my personal favourites…Ben Rye which means ‘Son of the wind’. How apt because Pantelleria means ‘daughter of the wind’! Thus Passito (dried) di Pantelleria is the most delicious and yummy dessert wine that is perfetta with cheese and foe gras and much more! In a small but highly manoeuvrable Fiat panda expertly driven by mid amico Baldo Palermo of Donnafugata, we explored every nook and cranny of this amazing and rugged island!
In Khamma contorda or district I visited the historic Winery of Donafugata and saw up close the small ‘bonsai’ Zibibo or Muscat of Alexandria vines…many over 100 years old!
I was up at 06:00 when my Breitling titanium watch woke me. From Trapanai airport near Marsala, I touched down in Pantelleria and it was off to a flying start! With dynamic Baldo at the wheel driving along winding roads like a sepent’s tail 200m ASL, we soon arrived at the historic Donnafugata winery. On the way we stopped to admire the views of the rugged coastline which reminded me of the movie, The Count of Monte Cristo. Baldo is a goldmine of information about Pantelleria and he pointed out Giorgio Armani’s luxury villa framed by palm trees near the sea.
In 1989, the late Giacomo Rallo got the brilliant idea for a winery on this rugged island while hunting for rabbits. He thought of planting the Zibibo or Muscat of Alexandria grape to make special wines. Now Donnafugata has 14 wineries all over the island and harvest starts between mid Aug to Sept.
To be continued…