Sicily is in the heart of the Mediterranean and a melting pot of many past civilisations. Renown for its rich, natural and artistic beauty, in recent years, its wines have come to the forefront internationally.
Sicily’s red wine par excellence is its Nero d’Avola, which was known at the time of the Ancient Greeks. It perfectly reflects the soil and climate of Sicily: it is warm, full-bodied, well structured, has multiple aromas and notes of black cherry, spice and liquorice with long lasting tannins. Nero d’Avola is also blended with the native Frappato grape to produce an exquisite red wine called Cerasuolo di Vittoria.
The fertile volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in the northeast near Catania are an excellent area for growing high quality grapes. Some vines are well over a century old and highly resistant to the phylloxera root pest that decimated other European vineyards in the late 1800’s. Etna wines are generally more elegant, yet powerful. Red indigenous grapes such as Nerello Mascalese with its fine tannins and vibrant acidity, and Nerello Cappuccio with its strawberry aromas are also blended together to create an Etna Rosso.
Sicily’s most famous white grapes are Cataratto, Carricante, Inzolia and Grillo. They are generally fresh, aromatic with distinct citrus notes but can also be fruitier, fuller bodied and creamier depending on the vineyard and its altitude.
Sicily has many excellent dessert wines such as Malvasia di Lipari, Moscato di Noto produced with white Moscato grapes and Moscato di Pantelleria made with Zibibbo grapes.