Planeta Winery is oh so wonderfully famous and thats because they have a lot of amazing wines to offer. Expanding across five Sicilian territories they produce wine, olive oil, and always offer the most gracious hospitality! I recently had lunch here in NYC with Patricia Toth of Planeta and got some great insight into grapes I haven’t had in a while. I have always wanted to visit Sicily and plan to make it there in the next five years but until then I enjoy visiting through my glass.
We began with the Astice, which is Nova Scotia Lobster, Burrata, and Eggplant Al Funghetto with Basil. It was so flavorful and really paired nicely with their 2021 Planeta Allemanda Bianco Noto DOC. This wine really takes on the minerality from the limestone and chalky soils and has nice crispness, jasmine, and citrus notes. It has such a lovely nose of peach, stone fruit, and is a perfect aperitif wine so you can also easily pair it with cheese, charcuterie, and a salad.
Alongside we also enjoyed the Planeta 2018 Eruzione 1614 Carricante Sicilia DOC which is from a pretty elevated area over 900m above sea level. High elevation adds a unique elegance to wines, and this one is so cool because a volcano actually erupted below the soils, and really adds in this nice volcanic note to the aromas and flavors. This also paired nicely with the Astice appetizer and would be a great sushi wine too!
For our second course I enjoyed the Fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow. It was an amazing dish packed with tons of flavor, spice, and deliciousness. The reds of Planeta went beautifully with this dish of course, and we enjoyed the 2020 Frappato Vittoria, as well as the Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2020. I love Frappato so I was super exited for this one it was fruity and light and really showed off how beautiful the grape varietal is. The Cerasuolo which is a blend of Nero d’ Avola and Frappato grapes went beautifully with the fusilli as it’s notes of cherry and strawberry and pomegranate really complimented the tomato, octopus, and marrow in the dish.
We then moved onto the 2018 Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese which comes from a great position in the vineyard with black soils and lava sands. This wine is crafted with hand picked grapes and aged for 12 months in oak barrels and is just wonderful. This is certainly a food wine and can easily pair with a meat and cheese board or even something bigger like lamb, steak, or braised chicken. Now that were getting into spring and summer think BBQ, this would be an awesome wine with cedar plank salmon or grilled ribs. We also enjoyed the 2017 Planeta Nocera, which is an ancient variety they’re trying to promote. It was an awesome wine! It has nice structure and bright aromas, and gives off nice Mediterranean vibes. It went well with the third course of Capesante, which was Seared Scallops with cabbage, grilled onion, fennel, and Marcona almonds. I would say however their reds do pair nicer with steak or chicken on the menu we had but something about the scallops were just calling my name, and you know what? The wines did great with seafood.
Lastly we enjoyed a 2017 Planeta Mamertino which is a blend of Nocera and Nero d’ Avola. This wine is aged 12 months in oak and was nicely layered and full of delicious fruit, spice, and a lingering finish. I loved this wine too, it was an easy to drink palate pleaser and showed off the best of both grapes. It went nicely with the scallops, but when I have it again I am absolutely going to pair it with some meat, or if I do scallops again I’d probably add some bacon or crispy prosciutto!
If you’re looking the the perfect wines to sip this spring and summer (you can totally drink these year round too) under $45 a bottle, then you’ll want to grab some Planeta next time you’re out shopping. They also sell many on Wine.com too, so be sure to come on and if you find a Sara L in the chat box, say hello! I can recommend these wines easily and offer pairings.