Salvatore Tamburello 797 N Catarratto, Sicilia 2020

Deep gold color; abounds in yellow fruit, lotus flower, peach, chamomile, ginger on the nose; lemon, yellow grapefruit, yellow apple, orange zest, peach, apricot, ripe pear, minerality/saline on the palate.

Salvatore Tamburello 797 N Catarratto, Sicilia 2020

Dry, but the wine is so fruity and unusual it has powerful fruity-sweet taste. No tannins. Medium body. Natural, unfiltered, organic, unstablized; 100% catarratto bianco grapes. The 797 N name comes from the block where the grapes were harvested to make this wine.

Catarratto is the second-most planted white grape in Sicily. It is most often used in the production of marsala. Because of over-production, it has been often been regarded as surplus and either distilled or transformed into grape concentrate. Some, such as this example, is made into quality wine. Generally, catarratto is not a high-quality grape, but Sicilian makers such as Salvatore Tamburello are finding ways to grow and finish catarratto into something more—a welcomed trend throughout Sicilian winemaking.

Salvatore Tamburello catarratto grapes

Salvatore Tamburello makes this as an all-natural, organic wine. It is not filtered and, thus, has a slight hazy appearance. That also gives the wine lots of texture and body from the natural grape particles in the wine. There is pronounced, lingering lemony-ginger tartness on the finish that is jarring on the first sip, but that becomes intriguing feature on subsequent sips and exposure to air in the glass. Distinctive, likely does not look or taste like any wine you have sipped before. Worth a swirl for that reason alone. 12.5% ABV

Grapes are harvested in late August. They are pressed, then fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel, followed by four months. Because it is unfiltered, the wine continues to evolve after bottling. The grapes come from the pristine Belice River valley in western Sicily. Surrounded by mountains, the valley is completely cut off from any chemical or industrial pollution.

Salvatore Tamburello vineyard

Salvatore Tamburello 797 N Catarratto, Sicilia 2020 delivers a unique experience both as a somewhat rare grape—although a staple of Sicilian white grape production. Natural, unfiltered, organic, unstablized—this harkens back to how wine tasted and was made in the “olden days.” Not everyone will appreciate its lemony tartness, but if you have a bucket list to experience all the ways wine can be made and how wine can taste, this definitely is a box to check off. Pair with shellfish; seafood in general; white meats; vegetarian fare; appetizers and snacks; traditional Sicilian cuisine. Cheese—soft goat cheese, sweet gorgonzola. $15-20

Salvatore Tamburello website

Salvatore Tamburello