Sicily: land of a thousand faces, a thousand legends … and a thousand grapes.
Its vineyard plantations extend for about 107,000 hectares (two times the cultivated area of Tuscany). They cover the Aeolian Islands and Pantelleria, and are among the most important in Italy.
Why are Sicilian wines so popular?
For many years the cultivation of vines in Sicily was aimed at the production of so-called “blending” wines (those that are mixed with other wines to correct some characteristics) and not intended for sale.Then the situation changed enormously: the results in the oenological field were truly remarkable, and Sicilian wines, due to the type of grape variety and the refinement of the winemaking techniques, deservedly gained popularity both in Italy and abroad. All this was thanks to the climate and the territory of this island, which consists of:
- 60% hilly areas
- 25% mountainous areas
- 15% plains
Characterized by a diverse territory, with a mild climate, and sea breeze, the land of Sicily seems specially made for viticulture: it is no coincidence that here is the Etna, the highest volcano in Europe. On its slopes, the Etna wine is produced, being the first Sicilian wine that received the DOC recognition in 1968.
The weather near the volcano (which varies depending on the altitude), is cooler and more breezy than on the rest of Sicily. The minimum winter temperatures are around 0 degrees, and the summer maximums are never too high, unlike the thermal excursion, which is instead very pronounced. All these factors combine to make the ripening of the grapes very gradual, giving these particular wines an excellent acidity and a great aromatic finesse.
However, in the Trapani countryside, the sea and the wind have an influence on the flavor of the wine. Here, the sinuous game between land and sea, sun and wind, blends, transmit to the cultivated plants a vast range of nutritional and mineral values that translate, in the bottle, into those notes and flavors that immediately identify a wine as authentically Sicilian.
Sicilian wines are produced in many areas, each with their particular native vineyards.
Among the red berried ones we find:
- Nero d’Avola: probably the most famous, and present practically all over the island.
- Frappato: widespread above all in the Ragusa area.
- Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera: widespread in the area of Messina and Catania.
Among the white berried ones we can instead include:
- Malvasia di Lipari
In recent times, the presence of international grape varieties has also been significantly increasing, such as Syrah, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are grown with excellent results.
If you have read the Odyssey, you know that Ulysses managed to blind Polyphemus by getting him drunk with a very sweet wine, and legend claims that the island of the Cyclops was Sicily!