"South of the Toe"

The world is a huge place! Sometimes it can be hard to remember some of the different regions listed on wine labels, especially since many of them are the names of specific regions in foreign languages. This week, let's explore a region that is frequently unjustly overlooked: Sicily. Sicily is a small Island next to the southern tip of Italy, known for their incredible food, made from local produce. Though it is a relatively small island, there is a huge diversity of wines being made across the Island.

While this is only scratching the surface, I want to focus on two grapes/regions to know. First, you should know about the wines of Mount Etna, which is one of the most epic places in the world to grow grapes. It is an active volcano in eastern sicily, where they grow the Nerello Mascalese and Carricante grapes. Vineyards are at risk of lava flows every now and then. The reds are almost like a Nebbiolo with their powerful tannins, bright red fruit, and floral earthy flavors, while the whites are crisp and fresh with intense minerality.

The second wine that you should know is red wine made from Nero D'Avola. Nero D'Avola comes in a variety of styles ranging from ripe, powerful, dense reds with rich strawberry and plum flavors, to fresh, vibrant, easy-drinking wines. In my opinion, the best expression of the grape comes from the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, where ripe Nero D'Avola is blended with bright and fresh Frappato grapes, creating a vibrant and complex blend.

Again, this is an incredibly broad intro to the Island. These two wines will serve as a good representation of the fascinating and food-friendly wines of the region, and will be a good jumping off point for any who want to dig further into their food & wine.