Surprisingly Sicily has more vineyards than any other Italian region. Sicily also competes with Apulia as the largest wine producer. Even more surprisingly, Sicilians consume less wine per capita than any other Italian.
A couple reasons for these odd facts are that many of the grapes are made into raisins for cooking and that dessert wines are predominant in Sicily (about 90% of the total DOC production). The dessert wines require more grapes and is consumed in smaller quantities because it is so concentrated. Sicily is world renowned for its famous dessert wines such as Marsala.
Unfortunately for us, we are red wine fans for the most part. Luckily we live in the region of Sicily where the most Sicilian reds are found (Etna region). Our first introduction to the Sicilian wine culture was our trip to Gambino wineries. It was an amazing trip and what really blew us away was the hospitality involved in wine tasting. Instead of feeling like a herd of cattle in Napa or Sonoma the winery laid out an amazing spread of Sicilian food to compliment our wine tasting experience. Instead of standing at a bar sampling we were sat at beautifully set table with a great view of the vineyard.... and encouraged to take our time and enjoy.
This is a link to the post about one of our trips to Gambino winery: http://www.sicilyciao.com/travel/sicily/taormina-and-gambino-winery/
There are a number of nearby wineries on our list that we are planning on trying. If you know of any others please let me know!
I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about wine back in California, but when we moved out here I was blown away by an entire new world of wine. There are so many different varietals out here that I have never heard of in my life. Here is a list of some of the more prevalent ones:
- Nerello Mascalese
- Nero d'Avola
- Frappato di Vittoria
- Grenache Nero (Alicante)
Here is a map that I had to edit a bit that shows the different regions of Sicily and their associated grape varietals.