Italy’s southernmost wine region, and the largest island in the Mediterranean sea is Sicily. Sicily has been a significant center of Mediterranean viniculture for more than 2500 years.
Sicily, or Sicilia in Italian, has a reputation and style that have significantly changed overtime. At one time, the Sicily wine region was most famous for their sweet Muscat’s, later became known for their fortified Marsala, and today are well known for their dry table wines produced under the Sicilia DOC or Terre Siciliane.
The classic Mediterranean climate in the wine regions in Sicily have been blessed with consistently bright sunshine, reliably moderate rainfall, a warm dry climate, and minimal mildew and rotting problems. The ideal Sicily weather, leaving a low disease pressure, means that chemical sprays are hardly needed; so most Sicilian wine is produced from organic grapes.
Sicily is also home to Mount Etna, the towering stratovolcano that is the responsible for the mineral rich, dark soils that help produce such delectable wines.
Ironically, the islands perfect conditions played a major role in the downfall of Sicilian wine in the late 20th century. The Sicily regions perfect weather and low disease pressure made it easy for the winemakers to produce high yielding bush vines. They began the conversion of thousands of low yielding bush vines to high yielding ones. Unfortunately, the high yields produced imbalanced, flavorless wines.
Soon enough Sicily was struggling to sell their low quality, low priced wines. The winemakers began reversing this reputation and now Sicily is one of the most promising wine producers in Italy. Other than wine, Sicily’s key exports are cereals, olives, and citrus fruits, so they rely highly on their wine as an economic commodity.
Large portions of grapes on the island are used to make the Sicilian red wine, Marsala. Popular Sicilian white wine varieties include Trebbiano, Inzolia (or Ansonica), and the most popular white Sicilian wine, Grillo. Other Sicilian wine varietals to note include: Grecanico, Alicante, Perricone, Nocera, and Frappato.
We are thrilled to feature a number of wines from Sicily in our International Wine Club subscription. Our members get to enjoy wines from all around the world. Cheers!