Wine tasting in Sicily: the essence of an island

Sicily has a lot of different vineyards and it is the best place in Italy for wine tasting. 

The fact that Italy has a huge variety of high quality wines is a renowned evidence, but not everyone knows that, because of its peculiar geographical position, its volcanic soil and its rich network of wineries, Sicily is the best Italian region for wine tasting. 

From the Zibibbo to the Grecanico, from the Marsala to the Passito, Sicily allows its thirsty guests to taste an incomparable variety of wines – red, white, rosè, liqueur, spumante – not available elsewhere in the world. Each of these wines is the result of centuries of wise and traditional cultivation with the result of creating the best drinking accompaniment for the Sicilian cuisine and also for international dishes.

Sicilian wine tasting in a typical winery

Sicilian wine tasting in a typical winery

The most famous grape, available for wine tasting roughly in any of the local restaurants and wineries of Sicily, is the Nero d’Avola. This is the most important red wine grape in the island because of its adaptability to hot and arid climates and because of its productivity. The Nero d’Avola is named after the town Avola in the south-west corner of Sicily – more south than the northern part of Tunisia – and the red wines obtained from the Nero’s grapes are dry, rounded, warm and full bodied.

Sight of Marsala, a vineyard of Nero d'Avola and Passito grapes drying at the sun

Sight of Marsala, a vineyard of Nero d’Avola and Passito grapes drying at the sun

On the other side of Sicily lies Marsala, the biggest municipality in the province of Trapani and a few miles from the Zingaro Loop Natural Reserve. This typical Sicilian town gave the name to a fortified wine that was invented at the end of the 18th century by an English trader: John Woodhouse.

The Marsala wine is made following a process very similar to that used for making the Porto and the Spanish Cherry: locals leave the liquid to age in wooden casks so that it acquires a particular taste ideal for a wine tasting session like during an aperitivo!

Wine tasting in Marsala

Wine tasting in Marsala

The best white wine that a tourist could taste in Sicily is the Bianco d’Alcamo made with Inzolia grapes. It is considered to be the most ancient vine ever cultivated in Sicily and was also the most famous, before the Nero d’Avola took over.

Usually, at the end of big traditional meals, Sicilians drink passito wine. The passito is a wine made from grapes that have been left to dry at the powerful Mediterranean sun enough time to let the sugars accumulate at the right concentration into each berry. The result is the best drink for a sweet wine tasting, perfect with Sicilian patisserie.

Passito wine tasting in a Sicilian winery

Passito wine tasting in a Sicilian winery

The quality of Italian wines is guaranteed by strict production specifications and regulations – DOC and DOP – that allow the consumer to understand how the wine has been produced, which grape has been used and where the wine comes from. These regulations are a quality assurance label for Italian food and wine.

Feeling ready for a wine tasting session in Sicily? We advice to go by the end of September and during the whole autumn: prices are lower as well as temperatures and it’s nice to see how locals do the grape harvest!

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