Casa Vinicola Firriato
Soft and expressive Sicilian wines with an emphasis on native grapes
By Italian and Sicilian standards, Casa Vinicola Firriato is the relative new kid on the block. Begun by the husband/wife team of Salvatore and Vinzia Di Gaetano in 1985, the Firriato Vini has grown quite rapidly in its relatively brief existence.
Located in northwestern Sicily, the city of Paceco that is part of the province of Trapani, Firriato Vina comprises some 750 acres, most of which is planted in native Sicilian varietals including the Nero d’Avola and Catarratto Bianco. While Firriato began planting in 1985, it wasn’t until 1994 that its first wines came to market.
As early as 1995, Casa Vinicola Firriato began using Australian consultants to redirect their production and quality. Following a landslide of positive press and competition awards, the winery was named Italian Winery of the Year for 2005, prompting owner DiGaetano to remark, “This honor is a significant result that recognizes the quality of our production. It is a tribute to our work and sacrifices made in recent years.”
DiGaetano also accepts comparisons to the wines of other countries, but proudly stated that his intention was not to make an Australian or New Zealand styled wine but to make soft and expressive Sicilian wines with an emphasis on native grapes.
The centerpiece of the estate is the charming 17th Century farmhouse called Baglio Soria that gives its name to Firriato wines.
Map of the area
Italian Wine Terminology
Annata - Vintage year
Azienda - Estate
Blanco - White
Bicchiere - Glass
Botte - Cask or barrel
Bottiglia - Bottle
Cantine - Cellars
Casa Vinicola - Winery
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) - A wine class level recognized by Italy’s Federal government
Enoteca - Wine library
Etichetta - Label
Imbottigliato al’origine - Estate bottled Invecchiato - Aged
Rosso - Red
Uva - Grape
Vigna - Vineyard
Vino da tavola - Table wine
In addition to being the Mediterranean’s largest island, Sicily can lay claim to the fact that the former penal colony is now considered by many as Italy’s emerging high quality wine producing area. Located off the famous toe of the Italian peninsula, the island’s wine heritage can be dated back several thousand years, to centuries before Christ in what was termed the Magna Graecia (Grater Greece after 8th and 7th Century BC Greek colonists) Era. Vines have always flourished in Sicily, but until recently, the island produced mostly common bulk variety grapes.
Sicily’s wine renaissance began with the present generation of growers, fueled mostly by younger winemakers from notable family estates that have blended local grapes with classic varietals to achieve international acclaim.
Sicily’s modern new wave wines compare favorably with the likes of both Australia and California and are known for their fruitiness and drinkability. When consumed in company with the island’s vibrant local cuisine, they propel the resulting culinary experience to the highest gastronomic levels.
Vines can be found throughout the entirety of mostly mountainous Sicily, with the finer grapes and wines coming from the Western and West-Central growing regions where favorable Mediterranean breezes and excellent temperatures equal those of Northern California. Dry conditions during critical growing periods are among the best in the world. The finest wines come from the old family estates where winemaking traditions are many centuries old and have been coupled with modern growing techniques to improve the overall quality of the wines.