“What more is there to say [about Sicily]? How about this: There’s never been a better time to explore Sicilian wine.” – Eric Guido, June 10, 2021, vinous.com
Tucked away off Italy’s southwest coast, sun-soaked Sicily is a hotbed of interesting wines made from native grapes. Sicily is a place of extraordinary beauty, with striking coastal towns and beaches and a rugged, sublime interior. This island’s winemaking is just as exciting and has over 30 centuries of history behind it. Today, quality-driven, great-value, food-friendly white and red wines made from unique native grapes have made Sicily a darling of many of the world’s hottest restaurants. Here are a few of the delicious reasons why.
An ideal climate combined with persistent sea breezes that protect the vines from pests and fungus means Sicilian winemakers rarely require any chemical intervention in their vineyards. This has fostered the wide adoption of organic and biodynamic farming as producers look to capitalize on Sicily’s natural assets. Sicily produces characterful wines from imported varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay, but its great strength lies in its wealth of indigenous grapes.
• Grillo produces bright, fresh white wines with lemon, apple and an underlying nutty tone.
• Carricante has been a fixture on Mount Etna for nearly 1,000 years. As a single varietal, it has crisp acidity, bright citrus, mineral and mint.
• Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s leading red grape, and its juicy plum and dark fruit notes appear in both blends and single-varietal expressions.
• Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio often appear together in blends and are the base for many of the finest reds sourced from the mineral-rich volcanic soils surrounding Mount Etna.
• Frappato is typically seen in blends. This aromatic grape can create light-bodied single-varietal wines that bring Gamay to mind.
• Perricone is another blending grape that adds texture and colour, as well as suggestions of red berry, earth and herbs.
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