Sicily, a generous land where the sun shines, the sea sparkles and the volcanoes puff. Baroque and folk are the adjectives that fit her best. The great ancient civilizations left here an incredibly valuable heritage. Just think of the Valley of the Temples, an archaeological site with important Doric temples dating back to the Hellenic period, or cities such as Syracuse and Taormina, with their renowned and perfectly preserved Greek theatres. The influences of the remote Arab and Byzantine dominations that have left a mark on architecture, place names and cuisine are also evident; food is one of the cornerstones of tourism in Sicily.
The island is not a breeding ground for the concept of “light meal”, because everything here revolves around food. The gastronomic offer is perhaps the richest in the world and boasts many street food specialties. It is not unusual to wander around the famous markets, the beating hearts of many Sicilian cities, holding a sandwich with spleen (panino ca ‘meusa), arancine, sfincione or a stuffed-to-order ricotta cannoli. Also delicious: fish dishes, couscous always cooked to perfection and almond paste desserts. And considering that good food always requires a wine that lives up to it, in Sicily we find a great variety of vines which produce wines that pair perfectly with the excellent dishes of the island.
Here, as early as four millennia before Christ, wine was made and drunk and the soil and climate conditions of the island make it the ideal place for productions with character.
The vineyard landscape offers stunning scenery thanks to the boundless estates scattered almost everywhere. The white vines, which in Sicily have found an unparalleled habitat, are muscular with an intense aromatic profile.
Catarratto, widespread especially in the province of Trapani, is one of the oldest vine varieties in Sicily and the one with the most personality, character and potential. Over the past centuries it was mainly used together with Grillo and Inzolia to produce Marsala; however, about ten years ago it regained a leading role with separate vinification. On the palate it is well balanced with fruity notes and its most striking characteristic is a clear mineral vein.
Then there is Inzolia, also known as Ansonica, which is a delicate, elegant and never invasive variety. Its grapes produce fresh wines that evoke the summer and the holidays and offer a harmony of appealing and refined aromas.
In addition to the grapes of native vines, in Sicily it is not rare to find rows of national and international vines that adapt well to local climate and soil conditions.
An example is Merlot, one of the most well-known and cultivated red grape varieties in the world, which prefers hilly lands, and which in Sicily is often vinified separately. This vine sprouts early and has a relatively early ripening. Its grapes are compact, with rather small, very dark blue berries.
The wine made from this grape has an intense ruby red colour, a fruity aroma and on the palate it is soft and elegant. Chardonnay, which is also very widespread all over the world, finds an excellent expression in this wonderful land.
It is a white grape vine with great ageing capacity, much loved for its incredible variety of aromatic components that emerge in different ways depending on the soils and the climates where it is cultivated. It is an early variety and in Sicily it ripens around the third week of August. Its grapes produce still, crackling or sparkling wines with high alcohol content and moderate acidity. If aged, it can take hints of nuts and is particularly suitable for barrique ageing.