Sicilian White Wines: Great, if You Can Find Them

By July 20, 2019Italy, Sicily

If you’re a bona fide wine lover, there are 2 columns you need to read religiously each week: Eric Asimov in Wednesday’s NY Times, and Lettie Teague, in the Saturday/Sunday edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Mt. Etna

A recent article (7/13-14, 2019) in the WSJ is a great example. Her focus was on great white wines from Italy, more specifically the Etna area of Sicily. Lettie refers to these whites as ‘Chablis-like,’ crisp and high in acid.

Some of the grapes to look for are Carricante, which one Sicilian winemaker refers to ‘minerality for dummies,’ Grillo, Insolia, and surprisingly, Chardonnay.

And the obvious reason for this characteristic flavor profile is the volcanic rock that is omnipresent. One of my favorite tours in Sicily is when we follow a geologist through one of the extinct volcanic craters. His experienced eye can tell almost precisely what year was the eruption, based on the visible vegetal growth.

One of the wineries highlighted in her article was Planeta. Planeta was to Sicily what Mondavi was to Napa and Nicolas Catena-Zapato was to Mendoza, a pioneer and leading producer of great wines from their respective areas.

We will be visiting Sicily this October with a group of wine lovers and have already scheduled a lunch visit at the Planeta main winery in Ulmo, but after reading this article, I will be asking to visit their Etna winery.

Stay tuned for our daily blogs live from Sicily starting early October.

Author Vin Marottoli

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