Sicilian Wines Introduction
In the early second millennium BC wine making was present on the island, before the Greek settlers arrived, who, however, had the merit of the introduction of better quality grapes and the improvement of cultivation techniques.
Sicily is the third largest wine producer in Italy (the world's largest wine producer). The region is known mainly for fortified Marsala wines. The best known local varietal is Nero d'Avola, named for a small town not far from Syracuse; Other important native varietals are Nerello Mascalese used to make the Etna Rosso DOC wine, Frappato that is a component of the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG wine, Moscato di Pantelleria (also known as Zibibbo) used to make different Pantelleria wines, Malvasia di Lipari used for the Malvasia di Lipari DOC wine and Catarratto mostly used to make the white wine Alcamo DOC.
Historically Cultivated Vines in Sicily
The assortment of grapes historically cultivated here are remnants of the agricultural contributions of past civilizations Grecanico from the Byzantines, Zibibbo from the Saracen Arabs and Primitivo (better known as Zinfandel) from Albanian refugees. Far from being stuck in the past, however, Sicily also holds its own with exciting blends, such as the traditional Chardonnay varietal with natives Grillo, Inzolia, Cataratto, Grecanico, and Novello wines. Novello wines are any new reds from the current vintage produced by a quick fermentation process, rendering their flavor lighter, with less tannins. As a result it’s consumed quickly (it has a short shelf/bottle life) and pairs well with lamb or salmon and sushi tuna and is often served cool or somewhat chilled. Typically made from Nero d’Avola (a process that calms the strength of this robust vine) but also mixed with Pinot Nero or Syrah. Sprouting up with awards and in wine bars, restaurants and critics’ lists around the world, Sicilian wines are making their way into the limelight one bottle at a time.
Ideal Climate for Sicilian Vineyards
The Sicilian climate qualifies among those optimal viticultural climates of California and Australia with its rich soil and hot and arid conditions. Situated in the “sun belt,” Sicily’s climate is manipulated by African winds and the Mediterranean sea. With such a climate, one can understand why Sicily is the winemaking region of Italy covered with more vineyards than any other region of Italy. Producing more wine annually than Australia, New Zealand and Hungary combined, Sicily competes with Apulia as Italy’s top wine producing region, although Sicilian vineyards are shifting away from quantity and more towards quality.
1. VdT (Vino Da Tavola): This is the lowest classification of Italian wine and literally means table wine.
2. IGT (Vino a Indicazione Geografica): This is as simple as it sounds—geographically indicated wine is produced in a broad region with a variety of grapes allowing winemakers more freedom in the winemaking process (as opposed to DOC/DOCG).
3. DOC (Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata): These are the big boys! Controlled designation of origin is the counterpart of France’s AOC—where it comes from, how it’s made and the grapes used. Not only does production of DOC wines occur in very clearly delineated regions, but it must also abide by the specific regulations in place to safeguard traditional wine-making practices particular to each region.
4. DOCG (Vino a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita): Controlled and guaranteed designation of origin is simply more strict than DOC. This classification generally only allows lower production yields and, before bottling, requires new products to pass a taste-test by a committee.
Sicilian Wines by Grape Varieties
Frappato - Main component in Cerasuolo di Vittoria (DOC) and similar to Gaglioppo. Its origins are uncertian.
Gaglioppo similar to Frappato, originating from Greece and most commonly found in Calabria, but also grown in Sicily. Makes robust reds with high alcohol and tannins. Needs significant time in the bottle to mellow.
Nerello Cappuccio / Nerello Mascalese Cappuccio is considered superior to Mascalese and often stands alone without being blended. It’s grown in Northeastern Sicily. Mascalese is thought to originate from Catania. Widely used as blending grape in Etna Rosso, Faro & Corvo Rosso.
Nero d’Avola/Calabrese most significant grape used in making hearty, inky red wines with aging potential, it is often classified with Syrah, although also used in making lighter Novello wines (more like a rosè). (Its other name, Calabrese, meaning “coming from Calabria” is most likely a modification of the Sicilian word, Calaurisi, meaning “grape from Avola,” a town in the Southern tip of Sicily).
Perricone / Pignatello common Sicilian blending grape.
Sicily White Wines
Ansonica / Inzolia used in most quality whites for its delicate aromas and softening effect on heavier whites. It has well-balanced acidity and broad palate characteristics.
Carricante used in an Etna white.
Cataratto typical of Tranpani region and used in Marsala wines. Most widely planted white grape in Italy. Alone, makes a dry, low acid wine. Corinto
Damaschino used in Bianco D’Alcamo.
Grecanico named for its Greek origins and possibly related to Greco on mainland, has a crisp, apple flavor.
Grillo / Riddu has a long history in Sicily, as it was widely found in Trapani region in 1897. Used in Marsala as well as Monreale, Alcamo, Contea di Sclafani, and Delia Nivolelli. Can also find 100% Grillo IGT wine.
Malvasia Bianca originating from Greece (although its history is complicated), one of most cultivated grapes in Italy, found in many variations, including Malvasia delle Lipari (a sweeter, nectar-like version). See also Moscato. Used to make white table wines, dessert wines, and fortified wines.
Moscato Bianco - This Muscatel is the most widely planted of its varieties in Italy. Used to make dessert wines.
Zibibbo / Moscatellone aka Muscat of Alexandria, is possibly the oldest remaining genetically unmodified vine. Possibly introduced by Arabs in 9th century, used in Moscato Passito di Pantelleria (DOC). It is sweet, earthy and not especially aromatic with higher alcohol content than Moscato Bianco.
Awarded Sicilian wines your list
Il Frappato 2012 Occhipinti
Grotte Alte (Cerasuolo di Vittoria) 2010 Occhipinti
Etna Rosso 2011 Cottanera
Sàgana 2012 Moscato dello Zucco 2010 Cusumano
Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé 2012 Donnafugata
Etna Bianco A' Puddara 2012 Fessina
Nero d'Avola Versace 2012 Feudi del Pisciotto
Saia 2012 Feudo Maccari
Deliella 2012 Feudo Principi di Butera
Santagostino Rosso Baglio Sorìa 2012 Firriato
Etna Rosso Arcurìa 2012 Graci
Malvasia delle Lipari Ris. 2011 Hauner
Faro Palari 2011Palari
Etna Rosso V. Barbagalli 2011 Pietradolce
Cerasuolo di Vittoria Cl. Dorilli 2012 Planeta
Alcamo Beleda 2013 Rallo
Etna Rosso 'A Rina 2012 Russo
Contea di Sclafani Rosso del Conte 2010 Tasca d'Almerita
Etna Rosso Santo Spirito 2012 Tenuta delle Terre Nere
Cerasuolo di Vittoria COS see below
Azienda Agricola COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Vittoria (RG), Sicilia Sud-Orientale. Grapes: Frappato di Vittoria 40%, Nero d’Avola 60%. Altitude: 240-250 metri s.l.m.
Explore this great sicilian red wine frappato from Azienda Agrico Occhipinti
This summer i really discovered a great new sicilian winery producer "Arianna Occhipinti". A sicilian woman producing the best Frappato and Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Browse her website and you will discover her simple method to enjoy making great wiines. Here are the labels of the ones I tasted for you :-)
A lovely white SP68 - Albanello e moscato di alessandria (zibibbo) to taste the full flavour of the white grapes.
Nero D'avola and Frappato SP8 - great young red wine with full body taste of a young cerasuolo di vittoria
Award winner 100% Frappato red grapes. And the most famous sicilian red wine called Cerasuolo di Vittoria Docg. Cerasuolo is made with 40% nero d'avola and 60% frappato grapes.
Mille e una Notte - Donnafugata
Red - Contessa Entellina DOP
Alcoholic content: 13,5-14% alc/vol.
Grapes: Nero d'Avola and a small percentage of other varieties. Trained in the counter-espalier system and pruned in spurred cordon. Average planting density, 5,000 rootstocks per hectare (2,024 an acre); production of about 4 tons per hectare (1.62 tons an acre). Terrain of medium consistency.
Harvested in September, the grapes are vinified in stainless steel vats and macerated with their skins for about 12 days at 26-30°C (79-86°F). After malolactic fermentation, the wine is poured into French-oak barriques, most of which new, for 14-16 months and aged in bottles for at least 24 months.
Anthilia,Grapes: Catarratto main grape, with other varieties - 12,5-13% alc
Wine-making: The grapes are soft pressed.
The must is fermented at controlled temperatures and the wine ages in the bottle for at least two months before release on the market. Description: Fresh and fairly complex, this wine stands out for its structure, minerality, white fruit aroma (pear, white peach) and a slight fragrance of grapefruit. A white wine with its own, very special harmony.
Planeta in Sambuca di sicilia. Great site to visit if you love wine and they team planeta will give you a great day out there with food, wine tasting and tour of the vineyard. And of course they will delivery to your home abroad all the bottles that you want to buy. Above is the list of wines Dad and I sampled directly from the barrick! hahaha
Frappato DOC Vittoria
Dorilli Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico DOCG
Santa Cecilia Nero d'Avola, DOC. Noto
La Segreta Bianco - DOC Sicilia
Sito dell'Ulmo – Merlot
Maroccoli – Syrah
Chardonnay - DOC Sicilia
Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese - DOC
Passito di Noto - DOC
Deliella - Feudo Butera ( A galloping black Arab foal breathes in the saltiness of the vast Mediterranean, gorging itself with prickly pears and with its flaring nostrils full of the scent of orange blossom. Try it: tasting a mouthful of Deliella, this is what your senses will enable you to perceive. In this Nero d’Avola – matured for 18 months in barrels of various sizes – there is the natural spirit of the exciting island that goes by the name of Sicily.
Grapes; 100% Nero d’Avola 14%
Type of soil: This vineyard is situated right at the heart of the Feudo estate, in the hamlet of Deliella within the commune of Butera., at an altitude of approximately 300 meters (985 ft.) above sea level. The hilly terrain is composed of whitish marl (“trubi”), with clayey and siliceous sandstone breccia.
Vinification and ageing: The grapes were picked by hand in the third week of September. The fermentation lasted for 3 weeks at a controlled temperature of 28° - 30° C. (82°-86° F.) Maturation took place for 18 months in 350-liter (92- gallon) tonneaux and in 30 hectoliter (660-gallon) oak barrels followed by a further twelve months’ bottle aging before release.
Insolia di Sicilia
Area : The districts of Butera and Riesi in the Province of Caltanissetta
Grapes: 100% Insolia 13%
Vinification and ageing Made from grapes picked in the first week of September, placed in small wooden cases, and then given a very soft pressing. The must underwent temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, remaining on its lees until April. It then matured for several months in bottle.
Colour: A clear and bright golden straw-yellow, with faint greenish highlights.
Bouquet: Broad, with hints of exotic fruit and broom flowers.
Flavour: Rich and well-balanced, with delicate, sweetish hints of almonds
More Sicilian Labels of Wines
List of Italian Wines by LYS
Here is our list of red and white wines that Liveyoursicily found during the summer from our trip by car from Milan to Palermo. And believe me they were all great wines for your to sample. Click on to enlarge.
Scialabis: Set Up/Plant a Vineyard A Wine Lovers Project
Dad and I started our own vineyard. We cleaned the land, removed wood, fenced it and next it will be to plant it a selection of .... well you will have to wait and then come to see us to have fun together...
And guess who was there to see it first, this little tortoise...
And guess who was there to see it first, this little tortoise...
A Sicilian Vineyard - Our Images
Our Own Sicilian Vines and Vineyard
More to do! Few photos of these young Sicilian vines
People, Love, Passion, and Hard Work. All it takes to get this vineyard up and running. The wine journey continues.
We did bottle our very first Scialabis!