Frappato is a light bodied, red variety, from the dry lands of Sicily, and most dominantly growing in the southeastern coast of Sicily.
The grape, like a lot of other Sicilian varieties, shares a lot of historical importance and that can be seen by its popularity and fame in Italian winemaking.
Producing cherry coloured, aromatic wines that are low in tannins, varietal wines produced from Frappato is a great beverage to experience.
However, it’s blended category is even better and this is where the grape really shines. Sicilian varieties have had, for a long time, acted as excellent blending agents.
Frappato shares the same stage when it comes to blended wines, its natural blending companions being the famous Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese and even Nerello Cappuccio, with Nero d’Avola being its primary blending agent, producing some of the finest wines of Sicily.
Parentage of Frappato
Frappato had a long history, although much of it has become eroded and remains rather unknown. Winemaking in Sicily itself is ancient tradition going back to when the Greeks had colonies here.
Some records, however do record Frappato’s presence, at least since the 17th century.
Recent DNA analysis has shown Frappato sharing genetic similarities with Sangiovese, making it an offspring of the great variety.
The other grape however, remains unknown. Cerasulo di Vittoria was the first DOC to earn a DOCG status to produce Fappato wines, as recent as 2005.Almost 640 hectares or 1,580 acres now grew the Frappato in 2006.
Most DOCs now come under the towns of Vittoria and the province of Trapani.
Frappato grows the best in dry conditions so Sicily is certainly the most ideally suited just like Nero d’Avola that requires dry climate and a dry soil.
Technically, it is more in tune to grow in sandy-calcareous soils rather than clay soils. Certain additional areas like the region between Pedalino and Acate, and Bastonaca are being considered for further Frappato cultivation.
It is, however, not very yielding as some of the best Frappato producers describe it because it is neither vigorous nor fertile.
The Guyot method of pruning is done since that increases the yield of the grapevine and produces more loosely packed bunches that are better to handle.
Frappato’s acreage has since been increased and now some 803 acres of land grow Frappato vine.
Characteristics of Frappato
Frappato wines can be very fruity and aromatic to the tongue. Roses, violets and crushed red berries constitute the main portion of its aromatic experience.
On the palate, the Frappato is a medium tannin and high acidic grape. Most wines will taste of blueberries and tart cherries with wild strawberry jam and flowery characters.
Frappato wines also differ according to the DOC since each winemaker now can develop several variants of one grape using several techniques and methods.
Frappato wines like Valle Dell’Acate will have a pal ruby colour and is light coloured. Its aroma is almost ‘intoxicating’ as a lot of testers have been written.
Delicate red cherry and strawberry flavours fill this wine and have a rosy hint to it. However, it’s the perfume that is almost legendary.
Another popular wine is the Frappato Occhipinti that might cost around $40. Similar to the one written before, its colour is darker with similar tastes.
Physically, Frappato consists of medium-sized, pyramidal bunches that are compact in size and round-oval shaped. Berries are medium.
Two Frappato types exist – Frappato A and Frappato B with type B is characterised as slightly smaller, more compact bunch of grapes and a tendency to produce wines that are slightly less acidic.
Type A on the contrary, produces stronger wines with stronger aromas and consisting of slightly larger berries than type B.
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