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Sicily

Once the island was mainly famous as the producer of the white base wines of the dessert wine Marsala, later powerful red base wines were shipped north in tankers to spice up weaker crescents. But that has all changed since the 1980s. Sicily has never produced so much good wine as it does today. The introduction of the DOC Sicilia Designation of Origin with the 2012 wine year guarantees a solid standard of production

VINEYARD

100,000 hectares

PRODUCTION

5 million hectoliters

TOP 3 GRAPE VARIETIES

Nero dʼAvola, Nerello Mascalese, Inzolia

WINE TYPE

Strong, fruity red wines, white wines - mineral from Etna, compact and fruity from the rest of Sicily

History

Magna Grecia, the Greek colonization 2600 years ago, also brought the Greek vine to the country, from which many autochthonous grape varieties are still derived today. Later, the Normans and French rulers took care of viticulture, and finally in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 17th century the British in Marsala a source for their dessert wine market.

Geography

The largest island in the Mediterranean, only separated from the mainland by a narrow isthmus near Messina, has a remarkable variety of landscapes. Sicily also includes numerous islands such as the volcanically active Aeolian Islands in the north or Pantelleria in the southwest, which is closer to Tunisia than Sicily. The capital is Palermo.

Climate and soil

Almost every climate can be found between the island of Pantelleria in the west and Mount Etna in the east: from hot and Mediterranean to well-ventilated and hilly to alpine-mineral. Vines grow in the sand next to the sea as well as on clay and limestone soils or mineral basalt soils of volcanic origin.

Growing areas and vineyards

Around 100,000 hectares are planted with vines in Sicily, most of which - almost two thirds - are white grapes. However, they are now often developed into light white wines. Red grape varieties dominate the east of the island.

Wines and production volume

The most important grape on the island is the red Nero dʼAvola, which is found in almost all growing areas. Autochthonous grape varieties such as the red Nerello Mascalese or Nerello Cappuccio or the white Carricante, on the other hand, dominate the vineyards on Etna, where long-lasting mineral, almost Nordic wines are created under the designation of origin Etna DOC. Although Syrah, Merlot and Chardonnay thrive in Sicily, indigenous grape varieties such as Perricone or Frappato are also becoming increasingly interesting: The latter, together with Nero dʼAvola, is part of the only DOCG wine on the island, Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

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