Capofaro Malvasia “Didyme” 2016, Salina IGT
Cost: $24-26

I don’t see wine from Italian islands very often, but when I do I almost always love them.
This Didyme (did-i-mey) from Capofaro is a perfect case in point. It is a terrific, smooth, dry wine that would be unrecognizable to many people familiar with the malvasia grape.
In 2001, Tasca d’Almerita purchased 14.8 acres of Lipari Malvasia vineyards on the island of Salina, planning to produce a unique sweet wine. Skirting the local DOC rules and standards (just as many Tuscan producers have done in their pursuit of Super Tuscans), they aimed to produce something fresher and more elegant than the rather cloying traditional Malvasia, with higher acidity levels.
In no time at all, Tenuta Capofaro — exposed to northerly winds and on volcanic soil —became a benchmark for winemaking on the Aeolian or Lipari islands. Tenuta Capofaro was also the first to produce this dry Malvasia on the island in 2013, setting them apart from neighboring wineries.
The wine is a gorgeous pale yellow in the glass with a pleasant floral aroma. When you sip it you get nice savory flavors with hints of minerality. It is a wine you could sip all night, before or after dinner, but especially during a meal. The wine benefits from the volcanic soil in the vineyard and the Mediterranean characteristics of the island. The island is hot and humid, but sea breezes cool things off enough to allow the grapes to ripen slowly.
After harvest the grapes are cool fermented in stainless steel for 15 days. There is no malolactic fermentation, so the wine retains its crisp acidity. After fermentation the wine spends four months in stainless steel on the lees before bottling.
Salina is known for the aromatic malvasia grape, which usually produces sweet wine. Tenuta Capofaro also produces Malvasia Capofaro, a hand-harvested sweet wine with honeysuckle aromas and good acidity. The grapes for the sweet wine are allowed to slowly dehydrate before they are turned into wine. This concentrates the sugar.
That wine is aged for six months in stainless steel and rests another four months in the bottle before its release.
Didyme is the ancient Greek name for the island of Salina.
Winery: Capofaro is one of the five estates owned by the Tasca d’Almerita family, home of the Anfiteatro vineyard, “Grande Vigna” di Malvasia. As with every Tasca d’Almerita project, the starting point in Salina was the vineyard.
When the Capofaro property was purchased in 2001, there was a Malvasia vineyard that had been in production for about 30 years: the best part was kept in production, and the building was restored.
The potential of the ancient vineyard was combined with the opportunity to find better Malvasia plants on the island, creating a new vineyard with more aromatic grapes.
The motto at Capofaro is “reconnect.” Salina is the greenest, most rural of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1981. Salina is the second largest island of the Aolian islands.
You might have seen Salina if you watched the 1994 Italian film “Il Postino,” which included many scenes filmed there.
Califaro is set between the mountains on Salina and includes a boutique resort surrounded by the grape vines.
Michael enjoyed the wine, the chicken and the kiss from his girlfriend Micheala.
Goes with: We had this with a great carry out chicken that was a big hit, especially paired with this wine.
The chicken came from a franchise called Krispy Krunchy that scored high on a national email newsletter. There are only a few locations in Augusta, but I had to try some. I’m glad I did.
The chicken is crunchy and crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, with plenty of flavor. The company is one of the largest chicken franchises in the country, but many of their outlets are in gas stations, so people don’t really notice the name.
A 12-piece bucket only cost me about $15, so I thought it was a bargain, too.
We tried this white wine and a red wine with the chicken, and I would say it’s about a tie as to which one paired better with the chicken. The Didyme was terrific, with the savory flavors really complementing the chicken.
Fried chicken can be difficult to pair with wine, but this wine has enough body and firm acidity to stand up to it. The chicken was great, but the wine really made this a special meal.
The Didyme would pair well with seafood, especially seafood or fish with a cream sauce. It also would be great with roast chicken, pork chops or flavorful cheeses.

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