Sicilian Wine, a world to discover
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea; its 10,000 square miles are dotted with picturesque villages and thriving vineyards. Wine here is unique, the food is hearty, and the people are warm.
Sicilian winemakers make a lot of wine, over 50 million cases a year, and there’s a reason for that, the weather is perfect, and the winemaking traditions go back thousands of years. Read on to learn about Sicilian wine and see what you’ve been missing.
Sicily has a set of unique grapes, many of them only grown on the island. The most prominent white grapes are Grillo, Catarratto, Grecanico and Inzolia.
Each one with its a unique personality. Flowery, citrus aromas and a fresh acidic backbone make the Sicilian whites something special. Try the Terre Siciliane Grillo IGT, from Pianogrillo, to taste one of the best ambassadors for the category.
The red grapes are dominated by the noble Nero d’Avola, known for its robust, inky, and spicy wines. Along with Frappato, the international Syrah and local specialities like NerelloMascalese, Sicilian red wine is coveted around the world. Enjoy the Terre Siciliane Nero d’Avola IGT “Otto/Otto”to see how intensely rich the Sicilian reds can be.
The grapes are important, but so is the hand of man and the land. There are many wines in the locality, protected by law either with a regional IGT or a DOC, with the highest quality standards. Varietal wines are excellent entry-level bottles, suitable for daily enjoyment; other wines are suitable for celebrations and the most memorable occasions.
The Cerasuolo de Vittoria, for example, holds the highest level of Italian wine law; it’s the only DOCG in Sicily. The deep-hued pink wine is fresh, fruity, and elegant. Get yourself a bottle of Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG “Curva Minore” or the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG “Maskaria” for perfect examples of the style.
The active Etna volcano is an impressive sight. It has the highest elevation vineyards in Sicily. Here, daredevil producers make the most subtle, elegant wines with grapes found nowhere else.
The reds, made with Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio, are compared frequently with Burgundian Pinot Noir. The wines are exquisitely smooth and velvety. Try the Etna Rosso DOC “Tenuta San Michele” by Murgo to see what all the hype is about in the region.
Although Sicilian wine is made in all colours and styles, there are still regional specialities hard to classify. Some wines are real treasures waiting to be found, wines with no comparison that you should check out.
The high lands at the foothills of the Etna volcano have distinctly cool weather, ideal for growing acidic grapes. In the right hands, these grapes turn into sparkling wines produced in the classic champenoise method. These wines are of great value and are as complex and enjoyable as any sparkling wine made in Europe. Try the Murgo Spumante Metodo Classico Brut and see it for yourself.
Lipari is a small volcanic island thirty kilometres north of Sicily.
Few people know that from this rugged piece of land comes some of the most exciting sweet wines in Italy: the Malvasia del Lipari.
Like the sweet wines made in the southern island Pantelleria, Malvasia is an impressive dessert wine perfect for the most delightful moments. Try the Malvasia delle Lipari Passito from Salvatore D’Amicoand fall in love with this wine style.
Sicily has an extensive wine portfolio; this is just the tip of the iceberg. People here love their wine. With the perfect Mediterranean climate and some of the most passionate people in the country, we’ll be seeing more and more Sicilian wine in restaurant wine lists and on the shelves.
Enjoy Sicilian wine and let yourself be charmed!