The previous (2012) vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition article on Sicily (see blue link below).
Donnafugata Tancredi 2012 - May 2018 Decanter review
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 three estates in Sicily: a modern winery and 270 hectares at Contessa Entellina in the hills east of Marsala; 18 hectares in Vittoria to the south eastern point of the Island; and 68 hectares on the island of Pantelleria. 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.
The vineyards at Donnafugata's Contessa Entellina estate are at an altitude of 200-600 metres in south-west Sicily. Soils are clay-based and rich in mineral elements such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. The vines for this wine are trained using vertical shoot positioning and are spur cordon pruned. Average planting density is 5,000 vines per hectare, with a yield of about five tonnes per hectare. In 2008 the blend changed to include Tannat, a mediterranean variety that Donnafugata first planted experimentally in 2002. Since 2004 Tannat has been grown in the hilly area of Predicatore, where the soils are best suited to growing this varietal.
The grapes were vinified in stainless steel with skin contact for about 12 days at 26-30°C. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was aged in new and second use French oak barriques and tonneaux for 14 months, followed by bottle ageing for at least 24 months before release.
Deep red, Tancredi is characterised by a fragrant bouquet, notes of red fruit and dark berry fruit combined with scents of liquorice and sweet tobacco. In the mouth the tannins are soft and well-integrated. An enveloping and persistent finish.