Joe Canal's Wine on Facebook

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tenuta Rapitalà, a French-Sicilian Love Story

As the resident Francophile at Joe Canal's, I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be totally bragging about our great Sicilian wines. Today's the day. For quite some time, this particular region in Italy was sadly neglected in aisle 1 (French and Italian wines), but sometimes all it takes is for one of our salesmen to show up for an appointment with the right wines at the right price for magic to happen. The planets must be in alignment, because our Sicilian wine lineup is looking pretty spiffy at the moment.

The pictures you see at the beginning of this post are just the reds. Don't worry. We'll get to the whites in another post.

Let's start off by talking about the most recent arrivals from Tenuta Rapitalà. Part of what got me interested in wine to begin with was when I realized that every great wine has a story, and these wines are no different. This is indeed a love story.

In the late 1960's, French Count, Hughes Bernard de la Gatinais married Gigi Guarrasi, from Palermo. Shortly after the honeymoon, they embarked on a mission to restore her family's vineyards and wine cellars after they had been destroyed in the Belice Valley Earthquake in 1968. Their work is now carried out, very passionately by their son, Laurent. The cellar at Tenuta Rapitalà has been recently renovated to house some of the most modern winemaking equipment. This high-tech approach allows them to have a much larger window when it comes to harvesting their grapes, and ensures that they are at optimum ripeness. Bottom line is that these wines are truly special, and we just had to have them.



Nero d’Avola vinified on its own gives this wine an exciting red color, an aroma of ripe fruit and a typical, deep, balanced flavor. Campo Reale, named after a town close to the estate, comes from vineyards at the heart of the Tenuta Rapitalà, grown on gentle hills at 1,300 feet above sea level which, because of their history, terrain and climate, creates a Nero d’Avola with a particular elegance, rare among others of this type.

Deep ruby color with floral and cherry aromas. A firm and powerful structure, a distinct but not intrusive amount of tannin and a delicate acidity.


On Rapitala’s vineyard slope, at 1,000-1,300 feet of elevation, dark clay soils alternate with tufaceous sand. This is the source for the Syrah destined for Nadir, which refers to a location opposite of the Zenith, and therefore the earth.

Intense ruby-red color with damask-violet tints. Generous bouquet with touches of ripe fruit and the typical spices of this grape variety, with attractive hints of vanilla. The flavor is full and delicate, with soft and elegant tannins. A balanced marriage between the depth of this product and the uniqueness of this exceptional terroir. Pairs well with red meats, games and roasts.


Nuhar, meaning flower, is sourced from parcels located in the heart of the vineyard. Here, vines grow on clay soils, sheltered from the wine, and in full sunlight. Two great varieties are planted: Nero d’Avola, which develops rich tannins and body in these conditions, and Pinot Noir, King of Burgundy, which responds well to the heat of Sicily with color, softness and depth unlike anywhere else.

Bright, ruby-red color and a bouquet with strong aromas of dried fruits. The palate is warm and full with a balanced acidity and elegant tannins. The finish is long and lingering and at this point, we discover again the classic aromas of a Pinot Noir ripened by the hot, Sicilian sun. Pairs well with roasted meats, game and truffle dishes.


Hugonis with its powerful and austere style is the most prized product of Tenuta Rapitalà, the legacy wine. The seal of Hugonis Bernardi – a knight in armor with two leopards – which appears on the label, is the coat-of-arms of the family of Hugues Bernard de la Gatinais and his son, Laurent.

With an attractive red ruby color with medium-high intensity, in the nose it surprises for a powerful fruit remarkably blended with traces from its noble ageing: coconut and toffee, evolving into seductive nuances of spices and Mediterranean bush. The attack is truly powerful and develops in the mouth a pleasant sensation of volume and unctuosity with drives us to a long finish, nervous and fresh due to its optimum acidity, and bringing back an aftertaste with red fruits and again Mediterranean bushes.

All of these wines are made using sustainable farming practices, which makes us even happier. All 4 of them, plus several of their white wines (Don't worry. We'll get to those.) just landed yesterday, and are now on the shelves at our Fire Road location. Nadir Syrah, and their Grillo will be available at our Black Horse Pike location shortly. Stop in an speak with any of our wine staff to check them out. Quantities are limited, and very highly recommended.

Cheers! -Bob

No comments:

Post a Comment