By Paul Caputo

Alcamo DOC is potentially one of the most interesting of Sicily’s rather strange assortment of white wine making appellations. Situated on the west of the island, just down the coast from Palermo, it covers vineyards planted around the town of Alcamo. The production zone extends north as far as the sea and descends south as far as Camporeale. In addition to Alcamo, from which the wine takes its name, it includes the municipalities of Calatafimi, Castellammare del Golfo and Gibellina in the province of Trapani, as well as Balestrate, Camporeale, Monreale, Partinico, San Cipirello and San Giuseppe Jato in the province of Palermo.

Although a number of different white grape varieties are permitted, debate around which of Sicily’s local grape varieties offers most excitement here tends to land on the side of Catarratto. The variety gives the Bianco d’Alcamo, which achieved DOC status in 1972 its appreciated light straw yellow color and dry, fresh, fruity flavour. The best impart delicate floral aromas depending on the vintage range between 11.5° and 13.5° alcohol.

In many ways, proximity to Palermo, Sicily’s thronging capital city, should offer a ready market for the wine. Yet Alcamo is predominantly considered an inexpensive wine area. Few producers have invested heavily. Perhaps the most well known wine from the appellation is Tenuta Rapitala’s Vigna Casalj. Other important examples include Firriato’sCalaventana’.