The Mediterranean’s largest island and dwelling to necessary archeological websites, the world’s finest capers, and the mythic Mount Etna, Sicily can also be an historic viticultural area with renewed promise. From its delicacies to its architectural influences, practically each facet of Sicilian tradition weaves nuanced tales of the island’s advanced historical past. Attributable to Sicily’s strategic location, the island was the topic of repeated conquests because it was first inhabited 10,000 years in the past by three peoples, together with the Siculi, from whom its title was derived. Thanks to viticultural practices developed beneath the Phoenicians and cemented by the Greeks as early because the eighth century BCE, Sicilian wines had been among the many finest recognized and cherished in antiquity.
Regardless of this winemaking legacy, Sicily later slid into service as one in every of Italy’s bulk wine facilities, focused on elevated yields and bottling lower than 20 % of its personal manufacturing. Towards the tip of the twentieth century, nonetheless, producers started to embrace distinctly Sicilian wines and rally round their safety. “That transition has taken many years, however I feel it’s simply reaching extra essential mass,” says Dan Gold, who, together with spouse and accomplice, Elise Gold (née Lentine), owns Portland, Oregon–primarily based Sicilian deli Sebastiano’s, the enterprise impressed by a visit to Elise’s ancestral hometown, Castellammare del Golfo. Key to this turnaround had been each the restoration of Marsala, the native fortified wine, and the work of Diego Planeta, who inspired larger range in winery plantings (some 150 varieties at the moment are grown) and whose eponymous vineyard sought to revive Sicilian wines of high quality.
The renewed pursuit of homegrown wines has sparked an trade resurgence. “The variety of winemaking occurring there may be actually thrilling,” Dan says. Sicily’s 23 Denominazioni di Origine Controllata (DOC) and one DOCG are being reimagined by a brand new period of torch-bearing producers, together with Vittoria-based Arianna Occhipinti and Frank Cornelissen’s Etna property, who’re drawing consideration to the island whereas highlighting outstanding indigenous grape varieties, reminiscent of Nero d’Avola, Frappato, Carricante, and Catarratto. “I feel it’s the standard, the thrill issue, and the individuality of those indigenous varieties that actually haven’t actually had the highlight,” says Gold.
5 to Attempt
Nero d’Avola “Lagnusa” Feudo Montoni 2019
From historic Nero d’Avola producer Feudo Montoni, this natural bottling is made from 35-year-old vines and aged primarily in cement. The ultimate product balances mineral notes with flavors of cherry and herbs. “We love introducing individuals to Nero d’Avola, particularly when it’s from a high-quality property with distinctive terroir like Feudo Montoni.” $21.99/750 ml, astorwines.com
Passito de Pantelleria “Ben Ryé,” Donnafugata
From the volcanic island of Pantelleria, this amber-color wine is produced within the passito, or dried-grape, fashion. “We predict this dessert wine comprised of sun-dried Zibibbo grown on Pantelleria is really world-class,” say the Golds. “There isn’t a extra scrumptious pairing for cuccidati, pasticcini di mandorle, and different Sicilian cookies.” $46.99/375 ml, astorwines.com
Calogero Caruana “Vino Bianco”
From “an up-and-coming pure winemaker working with native Inzolia grapes and spontaneous native yeast fermentation,” this Vino Bianco combines a mix of younger winery manufacturing and vinification from 50-year-old vines. “Calogero makes use of historic strategies like extended maceration with skins and stems, and getting old in casks with flor to make one-of-a-kind wines.” $50/750 ml, enotecadirect.web
Palmento Costanzo “Mofete” Etna Rosso
Utilizing vineyards ranging from 5 to 30 years in age for their “Mofete” Etna Rosso, winemaker Mimmo Costanzo and his spouse, Valeria, work on Etna’s northern slopes. “We love the minerality, stability, acidity, and expression of the 80 % Nerello Mascalese and 20 % Nerello Cappuccio.” $31.90/750 ml, la.eatalyvino.com
Due Terre Catarratto
“Truthfully, we like each wine we’ve tried from Due Terre,” say the Golds. A collaborative undertaking from mates, the label produces solely pure, indigenous varietals—together with Grillo, Frappato, Nerello Mascalese, and extra—sourced from round Mount Bonifato close to Trapani, and made with minimal intervention. The crisp Catarratto yields tropical expressions of coconut and pineapple. $22/750 ml, enotecadirect.web
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