Donnafugata, Passito di Pantelleria DOC (Sicily, Italy) “Ben Rye” 2014

($30): Pantelleria, an island off the coast of Sicily that is closer to Africa than Rome, has the potential to produce wonderfully sweet wines.  Donnafugata, one of Sicily’s top producers, consistently fulfills that potential with their Ben Rye, a wine made from the Muscat of Alessandria grape.   It delivers an intriguing combination of honey-like sweetness, without being cloying, balanced by a hint of apricot skin-like bitterness.   Serve it with cheese, especially pungent ones, fresh fruit or as dessert. I advise against serving it with sweet desserts because the two will fight.  Sold in a 375-ml (half-bottle), this serves six easily.
93 Michael Apstein Jun 13, 2017