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🇮🇹 SICILY 🇮🇹
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, served as a crossroads for ancient civilizations. Today, it boasts one of Europe’s most dynamic wine industries! Sicily's dry, warm climate features regular sunshine and moderate rainfall that suits wine production. Arid conditions reduce the chance of rot and mildew (especially in areas with coastal breezes) which makes Sicily a prime candidate for organic farming.
In the past, however, farmers opted for higher yields, which turned Sicily into a bulk wine center. In the 1980s, a resurgence in interest brought improvements in viticulture and winemaking. Today, Sicily turns out some of the most exciting labels in Italy.
Indigenous Sicilian Red Grapes Varietals To Know: 
Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese.
Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted and celebrated red grape. If you find a Sicilian wine in your supermarket, it will likely be Nero d’Avola. It yields wines of deep color and flavor, with moderate structure, juicy acidity and soft-to-medium tannins. Flavors of dark, brambly fruit and spice are common. Stylistically, the wines can range from youthful and easygoing to serious and contemplative, with the latter requiring time in bottle for best enjoyment. Nero d’Avola is the primary grape in the Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, an appellation in the south, where it’s partnered with Frappato.
Frappato, though blended typically, can also be bottled on its own. Once relatively obscure to American wine lovers, the grape has gained fans among sommeliers who wax poetic over its captivating floral perfume. These lean toward easy-drinking wines with supple tannins, though earnest examples exist.
Nerello Mascalese may rank second in volume and value to Nero d’Avola, but this elegant red has engendered a passionate following over the last 20 years. The grape thrives in the volcanic soils of Mount Etna, and it’s often blended with Nerello Cappuccio, a rustic, spicy grape.
Feudo Montoni Lagnusa Nero d'Avola 2018
Feudo Montoni Lagnusa Nero d'Avola 2018 $24.00
All operations in the vineyard are undertaken completely by hand, and the results speak for themselves: thanks to the Sireci family’s dedication and the vineyards’ high altitude, fluctuating temperatures, plentiful rainfall and neighboring olive and wheat plots, Feudo Montoni wines have staked their claim among the finest in the region.
Benanti Etna Rosso 2019
Benanti Etna Rosso 2019 $30.00
The color is pale ruby red and the scent is ethereal, intense, with hints of vanilla and ripe fruit. Balanced, dry, medium-bodied, mineral with a pleasant acidity and saline notes, red fruit aromas.
Girolamo Russo San Lorenzo Etna Rosso 2018
Girolamo Russo San Lorenzo Etna Rosso 2018 $85.00
San Lorenzo is a single vineyard wine from a contrada in Randazzo. It sits 750-780 meters above sea level and the vines are now over 80 years old. The entire vineyard is around 8 hectares but only the oldest 1 hectare parcel of vines is selected for the single contrada bottling. This wine is almost entirely Nerello Mascalese but also have very small amounts of Nerello Cappuccio since the varieties are co-planted.
Arianna Occhipinti 'Bombolieri' Terre Siciliane IGT Contrada 2019
Arianna Occhipinti 'Bombolieri' Terre Siciliane IGT Contrada 2019 $110.00
Situated on a point with high limestone content in the soil, facing the Serra San Bartolo. Here the lands can vary from colors of deep chestnut to white, but the surface's layer of sand is decisively lower: only 25cm. Just below this thin layer you will find more clay-limestone soil, visibly different with more of a presence of white on its surface. It's here, in the Vigna Strada that this wine is born, floral and straightfowards, with highly persistent acidity. 2677 bottles produced.
Arianna Occhipinti 'Fossa di Lupo' Terre Siciliane IGT Contrada 2019
Arianna Occhipinti 'Fossa di Lupo' Terre Siciliane IGT Contrada 2019 $110.00
Another historical contrada and backbone of Arinna's work since 2004. The soils are sandy with shades that go from red to chestnut brown and with a substantial presence of limestone rocks on the surface. After the first 40cm of sand, we arrive at a layer of solid, hard limestone. The vies were planted in albarello: the typical training system with planting distance traditional of the Vittoria area. This contrada faces the Hyblaean Mountains at northeast; from here the wines typically originate as fruity but also austere, presenting great acidity. 2671 bottles produced.
Arianna Occhipinti 'Pettineo' Terre Siciliane IGT Contrada 2019
Arianna Occhipinti 'Pettineo' Terre Siciliane IGT Contrada 2019 $110.00
This historic contrada, a term used to refer a small district of the countryside, is located beyond Serra San Bartolo ridge; historically it has always produced very elegant wines thanks to deep layer of marine sands 50-60cm, with little presence of limestone rocks on the surface. Chiusa di Pettineo vines are nearly 60 years old. Originally planted in a head trained or albarello system from which the previous owner then transformed into a trellised system, now with the vines climbing between the trellises into monumental heights. The wines of the Pettineo are usually fruit-driven with a more silky tannin yet possessing quite lively acidity. 2652 bottles produced.
Genevieve Murphy

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