Last Wednesday, it was a blast of a “good morning” at Armit! Andrea Vesco from Rallo came with his “heavy artillery” straight from the winery, and insisted we give it a try: we accepted!
It was a full-immersion through the facts and figures of one of the very modern, ambitious and successful wineries in Italy. We familiarised ourselves with a report on the healthy status of the company, and had the privilege of hearing about a few aspects of its future strategy, including, among other things, an exciting experiment with a new oaked Grillo, and a new Nero d’Avola blend.
Rallo operates three estates: the largest of the three is in Alcamo, in the Province of Trapani, with an area of over 100ha. The other two are respectively in Marsala, where the company’s headquarters is also located, and on the island of Pantelleria.
Each vineyard is certified organic, and each one contributes to Rallo’s products with its unique features, from the lava stones of Pantelleria to the salt mines of Marsala.
The nine wines we tasted on Wednesday, five whites, two reds, one passito and one fortified, took us on a beautiful, virtual, morning trip through the sunny hills of Sicily, where the breeze of the Mediterranean sea blends with the scent of citrus trees and the spices of the island.
We opened two Catarrattos: the dry, fresh and crisp Carta d’Oro, and the Beleda, possibly my pick of the day, a more structured alternative made with a selection of the best grapes, bringing about the creaminess of a brief contact with its lees, and the smooth and round finishing of the six-month maturation in steel vessels and two in bottle.
The Bianco Maggiore is Rallo’s charming conjugation of the Grillo grapes, a wine becoming every day more popular in the UK.
Its bouquet is heavily influenced by intense citrus aromas, but the predominant feature is its long-lasting minerality deriving from the vicinity of the Marsala’s salt mines.
The other two whites equally surprised those of us not yet entirely familiar with the extraordinary extension of Rallo’s products: the al Qasar, a dry Zibibbo with elegant aromas of flowers, apples and orange blossom; and the Evrò, possibly the real charmer of the whole selection: a 100% Insolia, with a herbaceous surprise towards the end that complements its delicate green apple and citrus flavours. Absolutely impossible not to finish the bottle!
Before tasting Il Principe, a fresher and younger version of the common full-bodied, dry and overripe Nero d’Avola, and La Clarissa, an incredibly crisp and spicy Syrah, Andrea Vesco recalled the ongoing efforts in support of the reds portfolio, indicating that Carlo Ferrini, one of today’s top winemakers in Italy, is currently exploring all available opportunities to expand Rallo’s red selection.
Before returning to our routine, there was still time for a 20-year Soleras, a fortified, stunning 100% Grillo, and a Passito di Pantelleria, the 100% Muscat of Alexandria, with a gentle 150g/l residual sugar, and an explosion of dried apricots, honeysuckle and dried figs, that make it the most respected Italian dessert wine.
I really like Andrea’s approach. He comes to London often, and keeps us abreast of the latest on the winery and its unique wines.
He is supportive in sales and never misses an opportunity to go the extra mile, including by joining us in our visits to the restaurants.
I went back to my routine with renovated energy, determined to transfer to my customers the message of those aromas, flavours and positive energy I had felt during the presentation.
Read more about the history of Rallo and browse their collection on our dedicated Wine Producers page.