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 Filed as : Regional SpotlightItaly

An Island You Can't Refuse

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  • Publish Date: Aug 18, 2009

What island produces more wine than New Zealand, Austria and Hungary combined? Why that would be Sicily, the beautiful island nestled right at the toe of Italy’s boot. Though perhaps best known as the birth place of Don Corleone and for its production of the sweet, fortified Marsala, Sicily is beginning to change its image (well, at least when it comes to wine).

The hot, arid climate and rich soil make for excellent growing conditions that up-and-coming Sicilian winemakers are using to concentrate on the lesser-known native varietals. The result are some truly great wines. Insolia, Damaschino or Grillo are usually blended with Chardonnay, and the island’s best-known varietal is Nero d’Aavola. A unique red grape, it is often compared to Syrah and yields a delicious, earthy wine. Nero d'Avola usually draws a “hate it” or “love it” response, but hey, that seems to fit most people’s relationship with the mafia as well...

Fazio Wine Company, located in the Northwest corner of Sicily, is one winery helping to change the image of Sicilian wine from mass produced Marsala to one of high-quality, small-batch wines made from indigenous grapes. You can taste their Nero d’Aavola, or an Insolia (indigenous Sicilian white wine varietal)-Chardonnay blend for the true taste of Sicilian wine.

And remember, wines from Sicily are something you should probably try, if you don't wanna be sleeping with the fishes.


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