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Friday, August 21, 2020

7 Don’t Miss Sicilian Wines


                             The island's volcanic soils are responsible for lavish complexity  
                                
Sicily is a treasure trove on so many levels.  Not only does it offer some of the best preserved Greek temples in the world, ancient Roman mosaics, stupendous natural beauty, and an intriguing cuisine, but Sicily also produces world-class wines.   The island’s volcanic soil creates wines of great depth and complexity.  Here are seven of my favorite wineries.

                           Pisciotto's up-market boutique hotel is out of a Hollywood movie-set

Feudi di Pisciotto
An ancient winery from the 1700’s, this farm estate (“feudo”) is a perfect example of modern meets traditional.  Now a destination location right out of the set of a James Bond movie, you can imbibe, dine, and then overnight in its historic rooms.   But, the winery’s intense and concentrated wines are the real star of this show. 

Fave:  Their Cerasuolo (a blend of Nero d'Avola and Frappato) is Bond-worthy.



                       The Princes of Butera estate will host Wine-Knows for a private lunch

Feudo Principi di Butera    
This historical hilltop castle belonged to Sicily’s first Prince.  Today, the 1,000 acre estate produces award-winning wines of elegance from both indigenous as well as international varietals. 

Fave:  Their Syrah is a prince!


                          Wine-Knows will enjoy a private dinner at the estate of the fleeing queen

Donnafugata
One of Italy’s most iconic wines, Donnafugata is easily recognized by its famous label, a woman’s head with a shock of windblown hair.  The woman is the Queen of Naples & Sardinia who in 1805 fled from Napoleon’s invading troops and took refuge in Sicily.  Donnafugata literally means the “woman in flight.”   

Fave:  Mille e Una Notte, which translates to a million and one nights.   I'll bet a million to one that you'll love it.



                            Arianna Occhipenti is one of the island's foremost super-stars

Occhipenti
This is another female-centric brand but rather than a fleeing Queen, this winery has a female owner and winemaker (not that long ago this was an oxymoron in Sicily).   Highly respected by international wine lovers and wine critics, Occhipenti produces some gorgeous wines.

Fave:  Frappato, a light-in-tannin summer red, is a heavy hitter for complexity.


                            Passopisciaro pulled out the red carpet for Wine-Knows' last tasting

Passopisciaro
With grapes literally grown on the slopes of Mt Etna, these wines offer exceptional character and finesse due to their unique volcanic terroir.  Think earth-shaking fruit meets seismic minerality.    

Fave:  Contrada Sciaranova is a seductive red with a long finish.


                               Planeta is one of the most respected wine families in Italy

Planeta
The Planeta family is the mover-and-shaker wine family of Sicily.  Owning >1,000 acres of vines spread across the island’s most prestigious wine districts, Planeta is synonymous with quality, innovation, and business acumen.  

Fave:  Etna Bianco, a white from grapes grown on the volcano Mt Etna, just might cause the earth to move.


         The Cusumano brothers, who founded their winery in 2001, are the new kids on the block 

Cusumano
The Cusumano family has been making wine for generations, however, as a winery they are a bambino (opened in 2003).   Now one of Sicily's iconic producers, Cusumano owns 1,000 acres of vineyards spread across the island, and exports to 60 countries.    

Fave:  Etna Bianco Alta Mora, a white grown on the slopes of Mt Etna---it will knock your socks off.


If you’re joining Wine-Knows in Sicily this autumn you’ll visit all of these wineries.  Moreover, in addition to dining in the castle of Feudo di Principi Butera, you’ll be staying on the charismatic Feudi Pisciotto estate, Planeta’s wine property overlooking the sea, as well as the Planeta family’s former palace in the heart of downtown Palermo.


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