has been a Sicilian habitual drink since pre-historical times. Beside wine other well-known Sicilian alcoholic
beverages are the dessert wines like Marsala, a fortified wine produced in the homonym
town, Malvasia di Lipari produced in the Aeolian Islands and Moscato made in Pantelleria with dried grapes. The Florio, Pellegrino, Rallo
and other historical wineries produce vintage Marsala of the highest quality and an assortment of
flavored dessert wines like Sicilian Gold, Marsala Superiore or Marsala Vergine
childhood a small quantity of wine mixed with water was given to me to drink with the meals. Today it would be
scandalous, but for sure it did not have any side effects or negative consequences to my growing-up.
In my paternal home the wine we drank was either white or red, without today’s sophistications of the Pinots,
Cabernets and the other varietal wines. For the children, wine mixed with seltzer was the closest that we got
to the real Asti Spumante, the Italian version of Champagne.
During the Spanish occupation, sangria was introduced in Palermo; originally made with white or red wine, fruit
juices, assorted fresh fruits and brandy, in Palermo it became u caliciotto, a beverage made only with red wine, peaches and lemon or
orange gassosa, soda.
the late fifties it was fashionable to add to the caliciotto some
beer and Marsala wine and it
became u poncio, the Sicilian makeover of
In most of Sicily, with few exceptions, taverns were the places where wine was sold to take out,
but lately many taverns became wine bars, where the wine aficionados – and it seems to me that everybody has
became a wine expert – can enjoy a glass of Chateauneuf- du- Pape, a Chardonnay, a Cote du Rhone, a glass of
Dom Perignon or some other exotic wine.
the entire Sicilian Island, wines of the best quality are produced in such
large quantities that the strong Sicilian wines are exported to the Continente, the Italian peninsula, to
reinforce the Veronese, Tuscans or the Piedmonts wines and to Franceto give body to their
Many varietal wines are produced in Sicily, each with
its specific and unique characteristics and taste.
The new and old Sicilian wineries produce varietals and blended wines.
the western part of Sicily white wines are mostly produced. The grapes
Catarratto, Inzolia, Grillo, Grecanico, Chardonnay and Trebbiano are
grown in this area and first-rate wine is produced and bottled as varietals or proprietary
wines are mostly produced in the southern and eastern parts of Sicily.
the Eastern part of the Island, and
around Vittoria the most common grapes
cultivated are the Frappato, Nerello Mascalese, Grosso Nero, Merlot, Sangiovese and Nero di
Avola. We have dedicated a chapter to the wines produced in the Vittoriese.
the south-east part of the Island, the Nero di Avola is grown in a big scale and the
wine produced is a fully-bodied red with fruit and herb flavors; it is a likeable wine for the low tannin
Albanello, Eloro bianco and rosso are also grown in this
Etna Rosso is a wine produced from grapes cultivated in the slopes of Mount Etna- the mountain also known
as Mungibeddu- and in the
plane of Catania; the Etna Rosso is a blend of Nerello Cappuccio and
Nerello Mascalese, grapes that originated in and around Mascali, a village located between Catania and Taormina.
Etna Rosso wine is characterized by the method of fermentation monolithic which is used in the production
of this wine. This technique gives the possibility to achieve a hearty wine with soft accents of acidity and
with unique and delicate aroma.
Etna Bianco is a blend of Carricante, Catarratto, Grecanico,
Inzolia and Minnella grapes. It is a lovely and elegant wine,
full bodied and pleasant tasting.
the extreme eastern corner of Sicily,
not far from the Etna in the province of Messina, the
D.O.C. Faro wines are produced in small quantities. These wines are
elegant, refreshing and tasteful. As per the other wines produced in the area Faro wine is a blend of Nerello
Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese and a small amount of Nocera
variety of dessert wines are produced in Sicily.
Marsala wine is Italy’s most
famous fortified wine. It is produced in Marsala, near Trapani, in
large quantities and exported all over the word. This dessert wine is used as an aperitif, in cooking, to
compliment desserts and indispensable to make zabaglione.
Passito di Pantelleria is made in the homonymous island by fermenting Zibbibo grapes, dried by the sun to increase the sugar concentration and
alcohol content in order to achieve a sweet, delicate fruity and fresh tasting wine. It is also known as
Moscato di Pantelleria.
Passito di Noto is a light, delicate amber colored dessert wine produced with dried grapes and it is naturally
fermented. This Passito has a luxurious flavor of honey and the aroma
of fresh fruits and vanilla.
a wine produced in the Aeolian island of Lipari. A light
and dry type, it is used as an aperitif or consumed during a meal; the sweet variety is served exclusively with
dessert. The Passito di Lipari is made with grapes dried by the sun and has an alcohol level of 18%. The
Liquoroso is a passito
fortified with spirits to increase the alcohol level to 20%.
Wine pairing is an important component that can make your dinner a winner and show your guests
how much you care to be a perfect hostess.
In general a formal meal on Sicilian tables consists of a pasta dish, a main course with salad
and vegetables, fruits and dessert.
main course is either meat or fish. Fish is common fare in costal areas; meats are liked all over the
Island however small game is preferred in the
hinterland. Pairing Sicilian wines with a meal is not very hard for the large variety of wines available,
although it requires some attention.
An ideal choice is a wine that can be served before dinner as an aperitif and can pair the
A short account of the wine produced in
di Salaparuta is a harmonious and versatile white wine with lots of
character. It is a perfect compliment to fish and shellfish.
Catarratto: this varietal green-gold colored
wine, with strong, fruits and spicy features is best paired with greens and seafood and even chicken.
Inzolia and Grillo wines are sugary and fruity, light and fragrant with citrus fruity
notes, mostly used to make Marsala.
Alcamo an excellent white wine produced in the area around
Alcamo, It is crispy and dry and pleasantly
fresh. It is great with seafood.
RegalealiBiancooffers notes of citrus
fruits, a lively fullness of body and is crisp and refreshing.It is a sipping wine that also pairs well with appetizers and fish salads.
di Salaparuta, ruby red wine, is
made with Nero di Avola, Nerello Mascalese and Pignatello grapes; it is a selected and acceptable wine for grilled meat,
roasts and young cheeses. It is dry, well balanced and rich with aroma of sour cherries; an elegant wine with
good taste and round tannins.
D’Alcamo DOC is
made with 60% of Nero di Avola, and a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and other grapes: it offers flavors of
berries and cherries, along with hints of spices and herbs. The alcohol content is under 12 per cent, which
makes this medium bodied red wine a pleasure to drink and an ideal companion to grilled pork, lamb, chicken and wethers.
Regaleali makes a Nero di Avola recommended with grilled
meats, spicy and aged cheeses or game. It is an intensive ruby red wine, with a delicate bouquet; it is dry with
silky tannins and a long finish.
Conte, special reserve
wine was created by count Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita in the
Regaleali estate; it is aged in wood casks. It is a well balanced
wine, medium bodied with red cherry color and flavored with notes of vanilla, cherries, mint and tobacco; it
pairs with hearty meals, stews and aged cheeses.
Etna Rosso is a wine produced in the slopes of Mount Etna; a
hearty wine with unique and delicate aromas, with soft accents of tannin, making it an ideal wine to pair with
strong tasting cheeses, hearty sauces, stews, sausages or grilled meats.
Etna Rosso wine is distinguished for its rich aroma of dry fruits and spices, and for its palate
of ripe red fruits, chocolate and flavors of earth.
Faro Rosso DOCis produced in small quantities at the foot of the Etna in the
province of Messina, it is an
elegant wine, refreshing and tasteful. Pairs with light meats,
cheeses, red sauces and vegetables; the ideal match for Pasta alla Norma.
Cerasuolo di Vittoria was produced for the first time around the time in which the
village of Vittoria
was established, by blending Frappato and Nero di Avola and
small quantities of Nerello Mascalese and Grosso Nero.
This exceptionally smooth and balanced wine, offers aroma of ripe fruits
and hints of Mediterranean herbs; it is called Cerasuolo, from
“cerase” (Sicilian for cherry) for the intense red color similar to
the cherries. Enjoy this wine with your favorite pasta, veal, rabbit,
pork or grilled meats and strong tasting cheeses.
Nero di Avola wine marries well with grilled meat, pasta in red sauces, hearty game, meat
dishes or strong flavored cheeses. This medium bodied wine is dry, robust and well balanced, it is dense in the
mouth, offers an intriguing aroma of wild raspberries and black cherries with a light spicy
a light bodied Sicilian wine with notes of strawberry and raspberry and hints of herbs, black tea and minerals.
This smooth and silky wine makes it an easy drinking choice to enjoy as an aperitif or to pair
with cheeses, salads, grilled meats or vegetables and fish.
Merlot Sicilia- Tenuta Principi di Butera- Caltanissetta. Splendid red pomegranate color wine with notes of cherries, cassis, and
mulberries blended with the pleasant aroma of vanilla. The taste of raspberries and spices and the light
tannin on the finish, makes this soft and medium bodied wine a good choice to match with duck, chicken, pork,
pasta dishes or mixed grilled meats.