The Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851 and their ancient cellars tunnel beneath the city. They were one of the first families to begin making high quality table wine when sales of traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region's native varieties. Today, Donnafugata has four estates in Sicily: a modern winery and 283 hectares at Contessa Entellina in the hills east of Marsala; 36 hectares in Vittoria to the south eastern point of the island; 68 hectares on the island of Pantelleria; and 18 hectares on the slopes of Etna. Donnafugata means 'fleeing woman' and is a reference to Queen Maria Carolina, who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th century with her husband, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, when Napoleon's troops arrived. The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and depicted on the 'Mille e una Notte' label.
Mille e una Notte is made from Nero d'Avola, Petit Verdot, Syrah and other red grapes from the Contessa Entellina Estate. The vines are planted at densities of 5,000 plants per hectare. They are trained using a counter-espalier system and are cordon spur pruned. The orography is hilly and the soils are clay loam.
The 2014 vintage was characterised by a relatively mild winter and a cool, rainy spring. Overall, from 1st October 2013 to 30th September 2014, 620 millimetres of rainfall was recorded: a slightly lower figure compared to the average of the last 10 years. Rainfall was concentrated in the spring months. July and August passed without excesses of heat and with an excellent temperature range between day and night, thus favouring the production of particularly fresh and balanced wines.
The must fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks with a 12-day maceration on the skins at 26-30°C. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged in mostly new French oak barriques for 14 months, followed by bottle ageing for a further 24 months.
Intense and inviting on the nose, Mille e una Notte opens with an ample bouquet of fruit notes of plums and red cherries, and fine spicy hints of black pepper and chocolate. The palate perfectly reflects the nose, with soft and elegant tannins and a lingering finish.