Emmanuel Delicata Winemaker Ltd, more colloquially known as Delicata, is the most awarded winery of Malta located in the heart of the Mediterranean where Phoenicians grew grapes hundreds of years ago. Like thePhoenicians Tyrian purple dye, prized in antiquity because the colour became brighter with weathering, Delicata’s wines capture the Islands’ sunlight. They shine at renowned wine competitions and have amassed over 100 international awards.
Delicata’s Maltese and Gozitan wines are made from hand-picked grapes from pocket-sized vineyards of the Delicata domaine which is under the strict control of Delicata’s viticulture department. Vineyards planted out to over 20 different international varieties at a density of around 5000 vines per Ha are drip-irrigated. Yields are between 40 and 70 Hl/Ha depending on the variety and site. The average age of the vines is 15 to 20 years. Training methods used are Guyot and Cordon.
Indigenous and unique varieties Girgentina (green-skinned) and Gellewza (red-skinned)are of indeterminate age but often over 50 years old, by large dry-farmed and ungrafted. They are trained ad alberello (or bush method). All grapes are manually harvested during the cooler hours of the night and early morning and crushed at the Delicata winery.
Winemaking embraces modern winemaking techniques. As there are: softmembrane press, temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats, Ganimede tanks, use of inert gases, French and other oak barrels, and a fully automated quality focused bottling plant.
Today, Delicata harvests over 1.2 million kilos of grapes each year. Over 380 vignerons grow grapes of over 20 different international varieties for Delicata in family run pocket-sized vineyards.
The list of varieties includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache Noir, Carignan, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino and Moscato aka Zibibbo. In addition to this, more grape farmers are growing Malta’s indigenous Girgentina and Gellewza varieties exclusively for Delicata. The average size of a vineyard block in the Delicata domaine is about as large as a football field. To quote wine writer Stuart Walton: “the company, which owns no vineyard land, draws on the hawkishly monitored produce of (their) contract growers.” No other Maltese winemaker works as site-specific as we do.
The Delicata winery plays an active role in educational and marketing related activities both for the Maltese people and the foreign visitor alike. The crisp, fresh and fruit driven wines produced by Emmanuel Delicata reflect the warm climatic conditions and complement the Mediterranean style of cuisine perfectly.
Cultural events aimed at promoting such culinary combinations are the very successful Delicata Classic Wine Festivals held each year in August at the beautiful Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta, and in Nadur the viticultural heart of Gozo in September. The festivals coincide with the start and finish of the Maltese grape harvest.
THE FRESH TASTE OF MALTA
At Delicata we like to think we are a steward of wines, guiding each one throughout the process, dutifully monitoring fermentation, carefully deciding if and how to age, and diligently tasting along the way, all to ensure we bottle the very best wine possible at the best possible price. We keep on investing in cellar technology, which combined with precision viticulture, gives our unique wines an exciting, new Fresh Taste of Malta.
Our 4th generation family winemaker, Matthew Delicata, attempts to achieve balance among the component parts of a wine. Wine with a balance between fruit, acidity, tannin and alcohol ensures a wine of finesse and enduring elegance. It also guarantees a thread of continuity in our style from vintage to vintage, year after year. His sharp focus on every detail of winegrowing and the wide palette of vineyards to choose grapes from is a unique advantage. Each wine is a collection of the best suitable lots of grapes, thoughtfully blended to honour the subtleties of old-world wine traditions. Each year’s vintage reflects a meticulous approach that adapts to the vagaries and eccentricities of each growing season.
While winemaking trends in neighbouring regions such as Sicily tend to render big, powerful wines, Delicata is rather committed to a timeless style renowned by chefs, sommeliers and consumers alike for its food pairing affinity.
“All of Delicata wines are well made (…) They are all good and fruity and definitely deserve the awards they received. Well done.” Charles Metcalfe, wine journalist and founder of IWC
“Here, (at Delicata) a mood of ambitious experimentation is in the air, appreciable in the rainbow palette of international varieties going through the presses. Sangiovese, Grenache, Vermentino, Zibibbo and Viognier supplement the usual suspects.” – Stuart Walton, Wine Magazine
“Today, there are signs of local pride – as shown by the efforts of the Delicata Winery.” – Robert Joseph, The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Wine
“Quality standards in Delicata are very high. There are documented procedures and monitoring systems in all areas.” – David Bird MW, Technical Audit Report
“Gran Cavalier Syrah and Gran Cavalier Chardonnay are wines to watch out for. Both are fruit-driven and extremely fresh examples of what the Emmanuel Delicata winery is now producing.” – Matthew Nugent, The Evening Herald
“One of the major influences on the Maltese wine industry, Emmanuel Delicata has helped bring modern technology and vineyard upgrading to the Islands.” – Decanter Magazine
“Emmanuel Delicata has revolutionised his local growing methods in order to produce wines of international quality.” – Harpers Magazine
By reservation and wine press members only.
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