Sicily is the biggest Italian island well-known for its delicious food and wine. What makes their cuisine really so delightful is the innate ability of the Sicilians to combine a unique taste with the highest quality.
The climate and fertile soils of the island are the perfect combinations for agriculture of high quality. In fact, the first grapes have been cultivated on the island already around the 17th century BC.
Sicily has now 23 DOC areas (Denominazione di Origine Controllata – Appellation of Controlled Origin) areas and one DOCG area (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita – Appellation of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin). The southeast, between Ragusa and Siracusa, produces the only DOCG in Sicily, the famous Cerasuolo di Vittoria, along with the Eloro, Moscato di Noto and Moscato di Siracusa Doc. The largest area of wine production is however located in the western part of the island, in the provinces of Trapani and Palermo, where Marsala, Alcamo, and the numerous versions of Contessa Entellina Doc are produced. Sicily’s main red grape varieties are Nero d’Avola, Shiraz (Syrah), Nerello Mascalese, and Perricone, whereas the white ones are Grecanico, Cataratto, Zibibbo, Grillo, and Trebbiano.
If you are interested in trying the best flavors that this land offers, you should definitely find accommodation in one of the villas anywhere in Sicily and then enjoy your stay living for a while just the way Sicilians do. And of course, don’t forget to gather information about their wine culture.
And now let us have a closer look at the most renowned Sicilian wines
Marsala is a fortified sweet or dry wine produced in the Trapani province, acknowledged with the Denomination of Origin (DOC). In 1773, an English merchant named John Woodhouse landed his ship in the Marsala harbor and decided to use the method “soleras” on the grapes from that area. This way the wine would become fortified and it would be possible for him to take it to England. Marsala was the first DOC wine in Italian wine history and it is one of the most famous products of all of Sicily
A large number of wineries especially in the South-East of Sicily produce this is very popular red wine. It is an indigenous variety, one of the most important in the whole of Italy, and Sicilians are very proud of it. It can be beautifully combined with red meat and mature cheeses.
Cerasuolo di Vittoria
The Cerasuolo is a red wine that requires long aging – at least until the 1st of June of the
year after the harvest. Although it is quite alcoholic, it has a dry, round and harmonious taste.
All operations of drying the grapes, fermentation, aging, and bottling, must be carried out in the area DOCG: the geographical area in which it can be cultivated lies in southeastern Sicily and refers to the provinces of Ragusa, Caltanissetta, and Catania for an extension of about 124,500 hectares.
Malvasia delle Lipari
This wine has a golden yellow or amber color and is famous for its sweet, aromatic, balanced flavor. It can be accompanied by blue cheese, duck liver as well as chocolate desserts. The Malvasia Delle Lipari can also be found in the form of liquor.
Pantelleria is an area DOC that includes wine produced exclusively on the island of Pantelleria in the province of Trapani. There is an enormous variety of wines produced there. The most renowned is Moscato di Pantelleria and Passito di Pantelleria.
This Appellation of Controlled Origin covers the area of Noto in southeastern Sicily, east of Ragusa. The main varietals used for this wine are Nero d’Avola and Frappato. A blend combining both grapes is called Cerasuolo di Noto, while a monovarietal type is usually labelled as either Nero d’Avola or Frappato depending on the grape used for production. The wines made with these varietals are fruit-forward and aromatic, offering complex notes of red berry fruits and spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. They pair well with grilled meats and Mediterranean cuisine.
Passito di Pantelleria DOC
The Passito di Pantelleria DOC is a sweet passito produced exclusively on the island of Pantelleria in the province of Trapani. It is made from Zibibbo grapes that are sun-dried to concentrate their sweetness before fermentation takes place. The resulting wine has a deep golden color with aromas of apricot jam, orange marmalade and dried figs as well as hints of almonds, honey and tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango. On the palate it is intense but balanced with a light acidity that helps to keep it fresh. It pairs exceptionally well with sweet desserts or foie gras.
Contessa Entellina DOC
The Contessa Entellina DOC is located in northwest Sicily between the provinces of Palermo and Trapani near Mount Etna. It contains 11 communes within its territory including Corleone, Partinico, Monreale and Contessa Entellina itself – from which it gets its name – where there are miles upon miles of vineyards planted with native grape varieties such as Catarratto Bianco Comune (common white Catarratto), Nerello Mascalese, Frappato di Vittoria (Frappato) and Perricone (known also as Calabrese). These wines range from dry whites to full-bodied reds offering unique flavors such as wild cherries, spices and herbs along with a pleasant minerality typical of volcanic soils found in this region.
Moscato di Siracusa DOCG
The Moscato di Siracusa Appellation Designation of Controlled Origin Guaranteed (DOCG) covers an area stretching around Siracusa between Avola town in the north to Pachino in the south-east part of Sicily. This wine has been produced since ancient times; Greek settlers introduced Muscat grapes to this part back in 734 B.C., making it one of Italy’s oldest varietals still being produced today! The Muscat grape here produces a fragrant white wine boasting aromas reminiscent of roses, orange blossom and ripe apricots paired with flavors like tangerine zest and honeyed peach tartness making it ideal for pairing with light dishes or sipping on its own after dinner.