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Wines from Sicily

General information on Sicilian wines

Sicily is an island in the Mediterranean Sea located at the southwestern tip of Italy. It has an abundance of vineyards and its very northern location gives it very warm climatic conditions. However, its rugged terrain and volcanic soil complemented by the influence of the sea provide excellent conditions fo...

General information on Sicilian wines

Sicily is an island in the Mediterranean Sea located at the southwestern tip of Italy. It has an abundance of vineyards and its very northern location gives it very warm climatic conditions. However, its rugged terrain and volcanic soil complemented by the influence of the sea provide excellent conditions for quality winemaking. Italian wines from Sicily are sunny and greedy, of great finesse and singular typicity. Nero d'Avola, which takes its name from the town of Avola, is the most important red grape variety in Sicily and even one of the most important in Italy. It should be noted, however, that around 70% of Sicily's grape varieties are white, dominated by Catarratto and Grillo. The island has 23 DOC and 1 DOCG.

History of wine production in Sicily

Sicily has been influenced by many cultures throughout its history. Its strategic geopolitical situation has always been coveted and the wine trade has also contributed to its wealth. Its viticulture was once renowned, with the wines of Mamertium, Tauromenitanum and Populatum, famous under the Roman Empire, as well as the production of Marsala, which the English loved. Wine production gradually sank into overproduction and bulk sales. Nevertheless, a qualitative boom has recently emerged to highlight its magnificent terroirs and its enormous qualitative potential.

Geography

Geographically, Sicily is famous for its volcanic activity. The majority of its territory is made up of hills and mountains. Its volcanic soils give an incredible diversity of terroirs and great fertility. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean that can occasionally give it a continental character. This enormous potential for diversity, if carefully planned, can produce exceptional Sicilian wines that combine power, finesse and complexity while maintaining the fabric of the volcanic terroir.

Viticulture

Sicily and Puglia are the biggest wine producers in Italy! However, Italian wines from Sicily are dominated by cooperative wine production. On the other hand, some producers are doing a lot of work to improve production by lowering yields and promoting quality and authenticity. As is the case everywhere in Italy, Sicily has a multitude of native grape varieties offering unique typicities and adaptation to the local terroir that are incomparable.

Discover the different red grape varieties and appellations

Nero d'Avola is the master of red grape varieties from Sicily. Also known locally as Calabrese, it can be found in almost every region of Sicily and in the appellations Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, Contea di Sclafani DOC, Alcamo DOC, Marsala DOC, Noto DOC, Eloro DOC and Sicilia DOC. Its enormous success lies in its ability to adapt to the torrid climate, since it nevertheless retains its acidity and salty watermark. It exalts scents of ripe fruit, but also notes of chocolate, leather and violets. Its acidity gives it a good ageing potential.

Also worthy of mention is Frappato, often associated with Nero d'Avola in Vittoria DOCG blends and Nerello Mascalese, with its fruity notes that captures the subtleties of the volcanic soils of Etna DOC and Faro DOC.

Sicily's exceptional terroirs are the perfect home for a multitude of international varietals such as Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Here they find a fullness and fruity expression that makes their regions of origin pale in comparison...

White grape varieties and appellations

Catarratto dominates the production of white wine in Sicily due to its production and its sometimes high yields, mostly associated with wines for mass consumption.

Grillo, a famous Sicilian grape variety, is without a doubt the Sicilian white grape variety offering the greatest delicacy and subtlety of fruit. It retains a nice acidity while maintaining a good structure with its floral and citrus fragrances. It expresses more purity as a single variety, but is sometimes blended with Chardonnay. The latter, although originating from much more temperate climates, has a high quality in Sicily.

Grecanico, for its part, has very lively and fresh fruity notes that are admirably balanced and coated with characteristic almond notes. It is often blended with Grillo or Garganega.

Other Sicilian specialities

Sicily also has extraordinary specialities, such as Passito from the small volcanic island of Pantelleria: wine made from grapes that have been sun-scorched on racks and whose viticulture is described as heroic!

Marsala is a sweet wine, amber or ruby, produced from sun-dried grapes. The main grape varieties such as Grillo, Catarratto, Inzolia or Damsachino in white or Nero d'Avola, Pignatello or Nerello Mascalese in red can be used in its composition.

The main producers in Sicily

The revival of Italian wines from Sicily began with the creation of special vintages by Duca Enrico and the Tesca d'Almerita estate. The arrival of Planeta, although using several international grape varieties, also helped to establish the foundation of quality wines in Sicily.

Alfavin.ch is proud to work with

Planeta and its 5 Sicilian estates, including the famous Chardonnay and Cometa de Menfi

Feudo Maccari, creator of the famous Maharis (Syrah) and Saia (Nero d'Avola) vintages.

Cantina Paolini, at the origin of the Gurgo Nero d'Avola and Gurgo Frappato-Syrah wines.

Firriato, producer of Santagostino (Nero d'Avola, Syrah), Harmonium (Nero d'Avola) and Camelot (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot)

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