Just off the toe of Italy’s boot is where you’ll find Sicily, the largest among the Mediterranean islands. Agriculture on the island is quite the phenomenon; from pistachios, lemons, and oranges (Sicily is Italy’s largest producer of citrus fruits) to wheat, almonds, and olives, Sicily’s mountainous terrain paired with an enviable sun exposure produces an enviable bounty.
Of course, there’s wine too. The grapes most commonly-grown in the region include nero d’avola (the most widely planted) and frappato for red; and catarratto, grillo, and inzolia for white grapes — all which you’ll find across Sicily’s key wine regions like Sicilia, Etna, and Marsala DOCs. And while many of the wines produced in Sicily never even make it to the U.S., the ones that do have always represented the best the local wine regions have to offer.
They include, of course, a nero d’avola and frappato blend from winemaker Arianna Occhipinti, which Campanale says would sing with just about any pairing but whose earthy and bitter chocolate notes would do especially well with grilled meat. There’s also a blend of grecanico and insolia that sees about 7-10 days of skin maceration, giving it its orange hue, and that’s described as being high in acidity and minerality with notes of white tea and honey.
Below you can find these recommendations and a few more:
- Eduardo Torres Acosta “Versante Nord” bianco 2018 Sicily, Italy ($37.32)
- Nino Barraco Grillo 2017 Sicily, Italy ($35.99 for the 2018)
- Azienda Agricola COS Rami 2018 Sicily, Italy ($27.99)
- Arianna Occhipinti Cerasuolo di Vittoria “Grotte Alte” 2015 Sicily, Italy ($89.96)
- I Vigneri VDT Bianco Cariccante Aurora 2018 Sicily, Italy ($35)
- Graci - Etna Rosato 2018 Sicily, Italy ($22)
- I Custodi, ‘Pistus’ Etna Rosso 2017 Sicily, Italy ($32)
Looking for more wine recommendations from some of our favorite somms? We’ve got you covered with five pét-nat picks from wine director Miguel de Leon and the American sparkling wine New York restaurateur Ariel Arce wants you to know about.