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Routes to Taste

The western corner of the island, from Trapani to Sciacca, is the most important wine-growing area in the region. From there come Marsala , Moscato and Passito di Pantelleria and the pleasant dry Bianco d' Alcamo , with a robust and full-bodied flavor. The rural landscape is marked by a flat rich calcareous soil, a dry and windy climate, and vine plants grown “ad alberello” (free standing trees) bearing white grapes. A large number of Marsala varieties are obtained using white or red grapes: Cataratto, Damaschino , Grillo , Inzolia , Pignatello.

Pantelleria is a unique territory where vineyards are cultivated according to an age-old method. They grow very close to the ground, in tiny valleys protected from wind-storms by low dry walls. The local variety of grape is Zibibbo, from which derive a large number of wines: Bianco, a blend of different grapes; Moscato, a dessert gold-coloured wine with an aromatic sweet and smooth flavor, produced with three different alcoholic gradations: dorato, liquoroso and spumante ; Passito, a wine obtained by exposure of grapes to sunlight, in order to have a natural fermentation and a high level of fructose.

The great wine district including Palermo and Agrigento lies in the middle-southern area. From these extensive region come several varieties of DOC wines (Denominazione di Origine Controllata - Registered Designation of Origin, in English), ranging from Contessa Entellina to Sambuca di Sicilia, from Santa Margherita Belice to Inzolia.

Nerello Mascalese is made from red grapes cultivated on the slopes of the Volcano Etna, in the north-eastern area. The wine Malvasia di Lipari is made from the grapes grown in the volcanic soil of the Aeolian islands, particularly of Salina. It is unique and elegant and it can be served both as aperitif-wine or dessert wine.

The calcareous Iblean plateau on the south-eastern tip of the island (Val di Noto) has two renowned wine-growing areas: the one overlooking the Ionian Sea produces the DOC muscat grapes of Noto and Syracuse; the other one, facing Africa, produces the distinctive wine Cerasuolo di Vittoria, marked by a ruby red colour and a fruity bouquet ranging from strawberry to cherry, which comes from Frappato and Calabrese grape varieties, and the renowned Nero d'Avola, a full-bodied dark-red wine winner of several wine competitions in the last few years.

Cantine Virzì

S. Anastasia vineyard

Cantine Virzì vineyeard

Nero d'Avola grapes

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