Ben Ryè – Donnafugata

Ben Rye

Type: Naturally Sweet White – Passito di Pantelleria DOP

Alcoholic content: 14,5% alc/vol.

Grapes: Zibibbo (Moscato d’Alessandria). Trained in the extremely low bush typical on Pantelleria, planted in basins and pruned short. Planting density: 2,500 vines per hectare (1,011 an acre); production of about 4 tons per hectare (1.62 tons an acre). Extremely loose volcanic soil rich in minerals.

Wine-making: Harvesting takes place in 11 different areas with a variety of ripening times. After 15th August, the harvest begins by picking the grapes destined to dry naturally in the sun and the wind for 20-30 days. In September, the less mature vineyards are harvested. During fermentation, the dried grapes are de-stemmed by hand, and added to the fresh must in several batches. During maceration, the dried grapes release their extraordinary qualities of persuasive sweetness, freshness and a special aroma. The wine then ages in stainless steel vats for at least 7 months, followed by 12 months in bottles.

Description: The wine displays its extraordinary personality and depth in its bright amber colour. After the first, intense notes of apricot and peach, come sweet sensations of dried fig, honey, herbs and mineral notes. Impressive on the palate with an outstanding complexity due to a fusion of sweetness, tastiness and softness. A prolonged finish.

Food & Wine: Serve with blue-veined or mature cheeses, or desserts. Try it with hazelnut chocolate or ‘De Bondt Ryé’, the praline with Ben Ryé created by Paul De Bondt.


Two dishes: Baked confectionery with ricotta cheese, raisins, candied fruit and flakes of chocolate. Herbed cheeses like the Blu del Moncenisio. Extraordinary alone as a shipping wine or as an accompaniment for memorable convivial occasions.

Serve: In slight-bellied tulip-shaped goblets of medium size; uncork at the moment of serving. Excellent at 14°C (57°F).

Curiosity: The name comes from the Arabic term “Son of the Wind” because the wind sweeps constantly around the clusters on Pantelleria. And the island’s winds bring with them a profusion of fragrances so intense that you can touch them. First vintage: 1989. Ben Ryé inspired maître chocolatiers Cecilla and Paul De Bondt, who created the “De Bondt Ryé” chocolates: the first is a mixture of figs and almonds steeped in Ben Ryé and encased in a shell of dark chocolate; the second instead has a core of Ben Ryé-flavored gelatin embedded in white chocolate covered in dark chocolate.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. In the last best italian wine awards… Ben Rye is in the second position


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