Zabù, Il Passo, Nerello Mascalese


This is a wonder of a wine; made by Valentino Sciotti who makes wines in the bay of Naples (also under a volcano...), it is a lighter, fresher and more restrained, complex wine than you'd expect from Sicily and we absolutely love it. Made from a grape called Nerello Mascalese, once you've tried this wine, you'll want to find as many examples as you can!

Sicily is a fascinating place to grow grapes - with the potential for mass-produced full bodied reds, right the way up to micro-vinified whites that are some of the latest picked in Europe. The ever-dominating presence of Etna allows for grape growers to engage with volcanic soils as well as the Mediterranean influence, altitude and the heat that comes from being on a latitude level with North Africa.

These grapes are mostly grown in the southwest of the island around Lake Arancio in the Sambuca region, where warm winds are balanced by sea are and altitude, keeping vines dry and fresh during the hot summer days. The grapes are cut from the vines at harvest but before they are vinified, they dry and lose between 15 and 20% of their water content, making their sugars, colour and structural components increase in proportion to the original grape's makeup. This gives wines that are softer, smoother and richer - think Ripasso from Sicily and you won't be miles off.

Sure, it's called Il Passo, and though it's meant to represent the pathway that passes along the hills... they must be happy that it conveniently sounds like that massively popular style from the North of Italy, too.

It's a style that is beguiling in its own right and, at a moderate alcohol level too, it delivers serious bang for its buck. Soft and silky, it delivers red cherry, spice and floral notes with a long and easy finish.

Leslie Williams gave it a nice mention in his 27th January 2023 column,

Nerello Mascalese is more commonly found around Etna and a little pricey - this SW Sicily version blended with Nero d'Avola shows off the more floral, juicy side of the grape. Violet scented with ripe blackberries, luscious but elegant

Region: Sicily

Country: Italy

Grape(s): Nerello Mascalese

Style: Smooth, Medium Full, Juicy, Fresh, Fleshy, Creamy

Best food matches: Pork, Pizza, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Grills, Fine Dining, Charcuterie

Alcohol: 13%

Why buy from us?

When you buy wine from The Allotment Wine Co. you're helping a small Irish company that in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers who grow the grapes and make amazing wines. We only work with partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.

Delivery & Returns

You'll get free delivery when you buy 12 x 75cl bottles of wine online from The Allotment, saving you €7.99.

We charge €7.99 per delivery for quantities less than that.

Our hours for processing orders are between 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday.

We pack your online wine order along the following timelines:

Wine orders for delivery in Dublin, received before 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected the next working day.

Wine orders for nationwide delivery, received by 12pm on weekdays are prepared so that delivery should be expected two working days later.

Customer reviews

Great choice and excellent service. Received my delivery the next day.
Paul H.
Amazing service from the get go!
I emailed Chris looking for wine recommendations for a birthday gift. Got a really speedy, helpful reply and not only that but he hand delivered it on time to the birthday girl wishing her a happy birthday. Absolutely bowled over by the service. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Michelle McM.
Could not recommend The Allotment enough. The selection is fantastic and each wine that I've drank from them has been utterly phenomenal. Delivery was no hassle and I had the wine at my door in 2 days. Couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Luke B.
Good range of interesting wines. Good personal attention to their orders. Very customer focused. I would be happy to recommend this company to any prospective customer.
Jim D.
A great experience ordering from The Allotment Wine Company. A wide variety of wines to try something new and at good prices with super quick delivery! Really convenient too as opposed to trying to find parking!
N. Dowling
Delicious and interesting range of wines delivered promptly to my door. Not far off that lovely feeling of coming back laden from a good wine store but without any of the traffic or the worry of breaking the wine en route (very impressive travel wrap).
M. Dorman
Chris fields a fine range of excellent, keenly-priced wines. Orders are safely packaged and dispatched efficiently and promptly. Strongly recommended.
David M.
Great selection of wines, hassle free ordering, payment and delivery. Highly recommended.
Patrick H.
Hi, I'm Chris Gifford.

And you're very welcome to The Allotment Wine Co.

When you wine from me, you're supporting a small Irish business which in turn supports small, sustainable wine producers, as well as other small, dedicated Irish wine importers.

When selecting wines, I look for partners who share a deep respect and connection with the land and its traditions, witnessed in a firm commitment to quality and sustainability. All of which makes for better wines.