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The Vine Island

Sicily is divided into three great wine districts: the western side, with the renowned Marsala wines and the sophisticated white wines from the surroundings of Trapani, the north-eastern side, with the red full-bodied wines from Etna slopes, the south-eastern side, with the renowned red production from the surroundings of Ragusa.

Every district represents the ideal habitat for the vines it grows, therefore giving high quality wines. The variety of soils, perfectly fitting with Sicilian warm and windy weather, explains why the island is the most fertile territory in Italy and can boast a high potentiality of development.

Sicily is proud of its 22 D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata, in English Registered Designation of Origin) varieties of wine and of its D.O.C.G. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, in English Registered and Certified Designation of Origin) Cerasuolo di Vittoria. The most diffused white varieties of cultivars on the island are: Cataratto Bianco, main component of many white varietals as Bianco d’Alcamo and Marsala; Ansonica or Inzolia, blended with Cataratto, Grecanico and Grillo, gives Marsala; a minor cultivar is Perticone, or Pignatello.

Malvasia delle Lipari is typical from the Aeolian islands, and it’s present in “passiti” wines (made from grapes fermented in the sun) such as Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria), produced by a few distinguished wineries on the island of Pantelleria. Another white variety is the fine Moscato Bianco, also from Pantelleria and from Syracuse and Noto districts.

The king of red grape varieties is Nero d’Avola, pure or mixed with other varieties as Frappato, a native Sicilian cultivar, or the imported Cabernet Sauvignon. But Sicily is also renowned for a large numbers of red varieties, whose star is Nerello Mascalese (with the versions Nerello Cappuccino and Nocera), typical of Messina district and of Mount Etna surroundings, which is the main component of D.O.C. Etna wines.

Last but not least Frappato di Vittoria is the major cultivar in the south-eastern side of Sicily. Its origins are not clear: someone says it comes from Spain, others claim it’s a local variety. Nonetheless, it is the main component of D.O.C.G. “Cerasuolo di Vittoria”. As for the cultivars which have been recently imported, as Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, Sicilian sun has exalted their hidden qualities, giving outstanding prize-winning wines in recent competitions.

Cantine Virzi

Barriques in Marsala

Catarratto grapes

Going to grape-harvesting

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