Penny Murray defines lovely. Aside from the fact that she’s a beautiful woman with a charming accent, she loves her wines and has a way of sharing this love with you as you taste through her line-up. At our tasting on March 13th, I asked Penny for a few words about the story of Planeta. Here is what she had to say:
As we all know Sicilian families are not small and with 7 brothers and sisters and 15 nieces and nephews Planeta is no exception to that!! The Planeta story, being a family that has always been in agriculture, starts many generations ago with grape growing. Diego Planeta knew what incredible and magical wines could be produced in the Sicilian terroir that could stand proud next to the top wines from around the world, but it was only in the mid eighties, that the family decided to plant their first vineyards of quality. It took ten years of experiments to find the most ideal grape varieties for their terroir but also for the younger generation to learn about winemaking, marketing and sales.
Finally, Alessio Planeta who is winemaker, Francesca Planeta the export and marketing director and Santi Planeta the national director were ready to embark into their venture. The first wines were produced in 1995 on the shore of lake “Arancio” between Sambuca di Sicilia and Menfi in the province of Agrigento. Today, they now own five boutique wineries and apart from Sambuca and Menfi, the Planeta decided to go also to the other most interesting viticultural areas of Sicily such as Vittoria, Noto and Etna. The extension of their vineyards are 975 acres of vineyards where they cultivate classical Sicilian varieties like Grecanico, Frappato and Nero d’Avola, as well as national and international varieties.
And the wines …
Planeta 2006 La Segreta Bianco $16/case $12.80
Nice nose with fruity flavors of apple, lemon and some mild melon. Fresh. Good sipper as weather warms.
Planeta 2006 Cometa $41/case $32.80
A favorite at the tasting. This wine is much more dramatic than the first, with full flavors of citrus, especially grapefruit, yet still round, with hints of minerality & spiciness. Lovely to sip or complement a simple baked chicken dinner.
Planeta 2006 La Segreta Rosso $16/case $12.80
Recently added as a glass pour at the Portalis Wine Bar, this red is a balanced combination of round cherry notes and dark smoke that lingers.
Planeta 2007 Cerasuolo Di Vittoria $28.50/case $22.80
This red sold out at the tasting; people loved it. Penny describes it best: Fruity, reminiscent of red berries, strawberries, cherries, prickly pears, dog rose and fruit drops. Very distinctive and recognizable. Juicy, displaying a fresh texture and pleasing contact. A velvety red.
Planeta 2005 Syrah $46.50/case $37.20
Red fruit flavors with a nice earthy complexity and a hint of tobacco. Gambero Rosso (Italian wine guru) describes this wine as “a marvel.”
Planeta 2005 Merlot $46.50/case $37.20
Another very nice wine. Nose of rich, dark fruit, prunes even. Well-balanced with a firm tannic structure.
Planeta 2005 Santa Cecilia Nero D’Avola $47/case $37.60
This wine was a treasure. Very complex & well-balanced. Jens’ favorite in the line-up: “Elegant, flavors of blackberries & plums. Acidic but very nicely done. Fine tannins. A beautiful wine!” Unfortunately we didn’t have any of this wine to sell at the tasting, which is a shame as it would have done well.
Contributor: Julie Howe