Video: Planeta Wines are Out of This World!

Francesca Planeta is one of three cousins who own and operate the five Planeta wineries in Sicily. They have been making gorgeous wines on the Italian island for over fifteen years and have amassed a devoted following and stellar reputation.

Sicily has a long history of winemaking (at times mostly for the fortified wine Marsala), but it’s only been over the past few decades that the region has become a serious contender on the world scene for its still wines. Much of this is due to the passion and dedication of Planeta.

In this video at a recent Planeta wine dinner at Hush restaurant, Francesca Planeta tells us about her favourite Planeta wine: the Santa Cecilia. (Please excuse the parts of the video that are quite grainy – the soft, atmospheric lighting was ideal for dining, but less so for filming!)

All the wines of the evening were wonderful!  I especially enjoyed tasting the very first vintage of the Carricante 2009 which is a grape variety I had never heard of! The grapes are grown near Mt Etna and benefit from the volcanic soil which gives the wine lovely stone fruit and floral notes with an elegant thread of minerality.

Also, the Cometa 2008, 100% Fiano, was impressive with herbal characteristics just below the citrus and slightly tropical fruit. The quintessential Chardonnay 2000 (served from a Jeroboam or double magnum) was the complete opposite, but nonetheless remarkable especially at 10 years old! The complexity and length of the creamy nuttiness was balanced perfectly by the freshness of just the right amount of acidity.

The Merlot 1998 (also poured from a Jeroboam) was incredibly sensuous with ripples of dark fruit and purple flowers and notes of plums and cedar leading to a silky finish. Syrah 2002 was robust and spicy leaving no doubt it was from a warm climate! The tannins were structured and supple and enveloped by waves of dense black fruit, dried figs, anise and a glimpse of coffee.

The Santa Cecilia 2006 was a superb example of the vibrancy of Nero d’Avola. Bright and fresh red fruit with characteristics of liquorice just starting to show; a pleasing minerality, impressive structure and a long, lush finish.

The evening ended on a sweet note with the Passito di Noto 2008, DOC Noto. This is made from 100% Moscato Bianco grapes that are brought in from the vineyards when they are ripe (but not overly so) and are kept in small crates in the cellar for about 30-40 days at just the right temperature (23° C) and humidity level (70%) so that the grapes dry out without losing the characteristics of the grape. The grapes are then vinified in the same way as a white wine. I don’t tend to be a dessert wine fanatic, but I loved this one, because the sweetness wasn’t overdone or dense, instead it was delicate while still showing rich layers of dried apricot and date surrounded by soft honey notes. The perfect ending to a simply splendid, first-rate evening.

Our menu and wine pairings for the evening…

Canapés

Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche Crostini

Avocado and Goat’s Cheese Crostini

Lemon Sole Goujons and Tartare Sauce

Filo Tartlets with Wild Mushrooms and Thyme

Carricante 2009

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Dorset Crab and Avocado Salad

Chardonnay 2009

Cometa 2009

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Spicy Lentils with Grilled Aubergine

Merlot 1998

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120z Veal Cutlet with Soft Polenta and Rosemary Jus

Syrah 2002

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Stichelton, Berkswell and Innes Log Cheeses with Fig Chutney

Santa Cecilia 2006

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Warm Valhrona Chocolate Pot

Passito di Noto 2008

For more information, visit the web sites of Planeta and Hush.

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There’s Always Time for Wine!

Tara – Wine Passionista

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