Introduction

By Paul Caputo

Long considered the poor relation of Italian winemaking, the engine room for hot and fruity table wines or bland liquid for bulk export (who buys it I don’t know), Sicily has since revolutionised its reputation and is now a source of interesting territories, grapes and wines. The island is still one the biggest producers of non-bottled wine, but there are now more than enough quality focused wineries for Sicily to be taken seriously as one of Italy’s top wine producing regions.

Just off the mainland of Italy, Sicily benefits from a Mediterranean climate which as we well know, provides perfect grape growing conditions. The potential for lots of heat mean certain varieties do better than others, and the wines made here are undoubtedly warm climate styles, yet that doesn’t mean there is no room for terroir. Far from it. There are over twenty DOC wines all given status for their unique micro climates and potential to produce village level subtleties. One of course has to bare the Italian propensity to play politics in some of these areas but even so, there is lots to explore and discover.

On an international scale the most important grape is the red Nero d’Avola. It is grown across the island and produces bold, fruit forward wines that range from very good to absolutely dreadful.

Appellations of Sicily

Alcamo DOC

Alcamo DOC in the north west of Sicily is known primarily for its white wines from Catarratto. Despite its potential, few wineries seem keen to invest here.

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Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG

Cerasuolo di Vittoria is the only DOCG wine in Sicily. A blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato grown around the town of Vittoria, the wine is named after its cherry red colour.

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Contea di Sclafani DOC

Also referred to Valledolmo–Contea di Sclafani DOC, the area produces red wines from Nero d’avila and white wines from Catarrato.

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Contessa Entellina DOC

Very small Sicilian DOC known predominantly for Azienda Agricola Donnafugata’s flagship red, Mille e una Notte.

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