Sicily is so serious about its wines that in 2012, it launched Sicilia DOC*, which aims to boost the quality and image of wines from Sicily. I have used their information in this story to share with you should you decide to join our Taste of Sicily tour
The world-famous cuisine of Sicily reflects the island’s bounty and biodiversity, but while Sicilian cuisine has long been a part of the Australian culinary experience, (penne Norma for instance) the wines paired with these meals rarely came from Sicily. Fortunately for wine lovers, that is changing. Today, the Sicilia DOC is reviving the island’s vinous heritage so that both Sicily’s own plethera of culinary delights as well as cuisines from around the world can benefit from the elegance and harmony Sicilian wines bring to the table.
Now more than ever, Sicilian wine producers are focusing on the opportunities provided by the Mediterranean landscape. The island’s climatic conditions are perfect for producing healthy grapes and extraordinary wines with distinctive flavours at incredible value. For those who have not had the chance to taste Sicily’s wines, our tour will visit several the DOC wineries on the island. One thing remains clear: amazing wines do not have to be expensive.
As wine lovers discover the best-known Sicilian grapes—Grillo, Catarratto, Nero d’Avola, Frappato and others—they find that the sun-kissed island capable of producing a range of intriguing flavours, but ultimately it is Sicily’s authenticity that wins their heart.
Sicily is an island of great natural beauty and rich culture, where innovative producers are combining tradition with modern techniques to create wines that are capturing new attention around the world.
With more than 250,000 acres planted to indigenous and international grape varieties, each vintage in Sicily produces an array of captivating and elegant wines.
Winemakers who have found success in the versatility of white wines from Grillo and the bold flavors of Nero d’Avola are rediscovering the nearly 50 native grape varieties that are unique to Sicily.
Beyond the Classic Grapes
While wine producers around the world search for opportunities to distinguish their wines from others, a galvanized Sicilian wine movement is harvesting the fruits of its past. The ancient indigenous vines of the island are creating versatile and flavourful wines that are drawing wine lovers and wine professionals to Sicily’s shores.
It is easy to fall in-love with Sicily’s wines. Grillo and Nero d’Avola are enchanting. And now other exciting grape varieties are emerging from the edges of Sicily’s wine mosaic. Throughout Sicily, new plantings of ancient varieties such as Catarratto and Inzolia for white wines and Frappato for red wines now outnumber plantings of international grapes.
The wines and blends from Grillo, Inzolia, Catarratto, Frappato and Nero d’Avola are introducing exciting flavours to a receptive audience and extending Sicily’s wine mosaic far beyond the boundaries of predictable international varieties. This makes Sicily one of the most unique regions for Italian red and white wines.
For consumers, sommeliers and chefs alike, today’s Sicilian wines are stepping into the spotlight.
Seven Grape varieties unique to Sicily
Tasting Notes: White Wines
Yellow with hints of green, with a delicate bouquet of white flowers, aromas of ripe citrus, melon and herbal flavors, a full body and a healthy acidity. Pairings: marinated antipasti dishes and various preparations of seafood, crustaceans and vegetarian first courses.
A pale lime-yellow, with aromas of ripe white melon and white flowers and tree fruits, featuring clean and fresh flavors of pear, white peach and nectarine, with a medium body and a mild, balanced finish. Pairings: octopus, oysters, crostini with salmon and vegetarian first courses.
A soft to strong yellow, with citrus blossom and fruity aromas, with notes of white peaches and grapefruits combined with hints of aromatic herbs, healthy acidity and a soft, round palate. Pairings: grilled white meats and fish, seafood appetizers, vegetarian first courses.
INZOLIA / ANSONICA
Straw-yellow with hints of green, with aromas of flowers, understated fruit aromas and flavors featuring nuts and herbs, a soft acidity, finesse and elegance, well-balanced alcohol and a soft, mineral finish. Pairings: mushroom pasta, baked or grilled fish, white meats, entrées featuring some dairy.
Tasting Notes: Red Wines
Ruby color with violet hues, with intense aromas of violet, spices and red cherry, a medium body, ripe tannins and a lingering freshness that’s persistent and balanced. Pairings: pasta with sauce, pizza, roasted meats, potatoes, fresh and soft cheese.
Royal ruby, with aromas of red flowers, strawberry, cherry, to more structured wines with aromas of ripe cherry, rose, sweet spices, licorice and cocoa, a structured, full body, healthy acidity and tannins. Pairings: charcuterie, grilled tuna, red meat, lamb, pork mushroom risotto, pizza.
Ruby to purple, with aromas of spicy red fruit, herbs and earth, featuring flavors of ripe bramble fruits; complex, with velvety tannins and a mineral, fresh structure. Food pairings: charcuterie and salty antipasti, pasta with ragù, eggplant parmigiana, roasted vegetables and cheese.
*The Sicilia DOC is the first organization in Sicily created to promote and preserve the island’s indigenous grape varieties, share the island’s wine story with consumers, and safeguard the reputation of the Sicily brand. Read more on their site http://winesofsicily.com