A recent trip to Persephone’s island allowed tasting dozens of wines made from indigenous varietals, all of which captured Sicily’s sun-drenched, arid landscape and gave evidence of the cultural and ecological diversity to be found there. For more, I suggest checking out our wine review site.
Chiara Planeta, one of fifteen cousins who operate the family winery at Sambuca di Sicilia, believes that Sicilian winemakers are at a critical point in elevating the image and quality of their wines in the international market. This was an opinion echoed by her colleagues in various parts of Sicily, from Etna to Trapani. If the following examples are representative of the future of Sicilian wines, they are on the proper course.
Benanti Nerello Mascalese “Rosso di Verzella” …Dense forest berries carry waves of flavor to a smooth, dark finish. Just enough rustic edge, with the acidity usually found in Etna wines.
Duca di Castelmonte Grillo “Notorious”…Rich golden color, slightly viscous look, and texture. Soft citrus balanced with herb and mineral-laced peaches. Full flavored and vibrant.
Castellucimiano Perricone…Somewhat floral with a touch of anise on the nose. Layers of dark cherries, berries, and currants emerge. Persistent, with savory tannins and the typical Sicilian level of food-friendly acidity.
Baglio Fici Inzolia…Mildly viscous and a mouthfeel that is almost Amabile. Extremely ripe peaches and melons, layers of exotic fruitiness. Mildly herbaceous with dried flower aromas.
Castellucimiano Catarratto…Clean, pure nose and flavors of apples, citrus fruits, pears, and native wild underbrush. The crisp, precise attack leads to a persistently fruity finish with cleansing acidity.
Foraci …Floral, semi-tropical scents with hints of hazelnut. The palate is enlivened by zesty acidity, picks up some floral elements midway along with a “green” quality to the mildly ripe fruits. A bitter almond finish reminiscent of a Verdicchio.
Planeta Grecanico “Alastro“…Before the ’09 vintage, “Alastro” was a blend with Chardonnay. This is fuller and more interesting, just as dense but more rounded, with the notable structure for a white. White fruits, minerals, and floral nuances might remind some of Soave, but this has more staying power.
Planeta Passito di Noto…A lush Moscato dessert wine. Loads of aromas and flavors – apricots, orange peel, dates, a touch of vanilla. Dense and creamy with hints of pastry spices, wildflowers. A lively burst of acidity keeps the sweetness in check and cuts through the concentrated texture.
Abraxas “Kuddia Del Gallo“…WOW!! A dry version of Zibbibo, the Moscato used in Marsala. Has all the flowers and fruits of a passito, though not as concentrated. Lightly perfumed apricots and orange blossoms. Intense, yet uplifted by refreshing acidity. More floral as a secco. Unique and interesting, even for Sicily, drinks full for a white.