A Cool Italian Red To See You Through The Summer

Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a MEDIUM-BODIED RED with scents of RED SUMMER BERRIES as her bottle of the week …

Mandrarossa Frappato, Terre Siciliane IGT 2016 

As I’m a firm believer in drinking and eating according to the seasons, blockbuster reds will be bypassed for the next few months. They’re just too heavy for summer foods. Instead it’s time to uncork lighter, fruitier reds, most of which will taste all the better after up to an hour in the fridge. 

This likeable Italian is just perfect for summer enjoyment. The Frappato grape, a speciality of Sicily, is best known as key element in the well-known red Cerasuolo di Vittoria; but here, all by itself, it makes a delicious medium-bodied wine perfumed with the scents of red summer berries. (Frappato, the name of the grape variety, is linked to fruttato, Italian for fruity.) It’s smooth and juicy with a refreshing tang that makes it dangerously moreish.

Mandrarossa, its producer, is an exceptionally go-ahead wine co-op on the south-west of the island in an area with different soils and different elevations, so its wines are worth looking out for – well-balanced and modern in style as well as being reasonably priced.

This Frappato is a versatile partner for an impressive number of summer dishes including cold meats of all kinds; pan-seared tuna; grilled vegetables, chicken or pork; pasta in a fresh tomato sauce or indeed any main course in which tomatoes play a leading role. It also goes well with creamy mild-to-medium strength cheeses.

Although a cooling period of 30-60 minutes is definitely worth trying with this seductive Sicilian (especially if the sun shines), any longer than that will chill the life out of a wine whose pure, vibrant flavours deserve to be savoured.

Alcohol: 13.5%

From McHughs, Dublin 5; Vintry and Redmonds, Dublin 6; Drinkstore, Dublin 7; Mortons, Salthill, Co Galway; World Wide Wines, Waterford; 1601, Kinsale, Co Cork, usually around €18.95.


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