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2002 Salvatore Murana Zibibbo Bianco, Pantelleria, Italy

Imagine yourself shipwrecked and storm tossed in the middle of the ancient Mediterranean. By some stroke of luck you find your way ashore to a rocky but habitable island, with a few families of sailors that have lived there for generations. If you were to settle and eke out a small living as a farmer, you might one day plant grapes from seeds carried by the occasional trader (even remote islands need their wine) and hundreds of years later, you might have a descendant named Salvatore Murana, who has this to say about his wine:

"On the volcanic terraces of the sun drenched island of Pantelleria, directly in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, my family has for generations cultivated the Muscat d' Alexandria grape - known as the Zibibbo by Sicilians - in our own vineyards: Costa Gadir, Mueggen, Khamma, and Martingana. Nature is not generous to us: the low trained vines, the intense heat and rocky soil, give us rich grapes but only in minimal quantities."

Muscat d' Alexandria is quite possibly the oldest grape variety in the known world but it seems to be holding up well in its advanced age, especially under the skilled hands of Salvatore who I know nothing about as a winemaker. This is not your typical Muscat however, so those who shy away in fear at the thought of drinking a Muscat with dinner (like me) will be well advised to give it a try. This is a dry dry dry Muscat that delivers high on the aromatics and very low on the sweetness scale, making it a lovely food wine, especially for summer.

Tasting Notes:
Light green gold in the glass, this wine has a heavenly nose that drips with orange blossoms, jasmine, and honey while on the palate it has a crisp acidity with flavors of pears, unripe apples, and orange zest. The finish is lingering with (I swear) a hint of slightly salty sea air.

Food Pairing:
This wine went perfectly with the new recipe for sugar snap pea soup with roasted Shitake mushrooms that Ruth and I tried out recently.

Overall Score: 8.5

How Much?: $21

The guys at Wine Expo in Santa Monica turned me on to this one. If you're interested give them a call (310-828-4428) and see if they have any left.

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