Top Etna Rosso Wines Blind Taste Test

I think I was inspired by March Madness.  College basketball at this time of year is impossible to ignore, especially because my Alma mater ( Michigan State) is a regular contender. Except this year!!!  I was thinking to myself there are so many wines from just Etna alone how can we figure out our favorites?  Why not have a bunch of Etna Rosso wines and taste them all in the same day and directly compare to find the winners and losers?  So I started picking up all the Etna Rosso wines I could find.  I thought that at most it would be an “Elite 8”, but all of the sudden I ended up with 12 and still left a couple out!  For the test they had to be true Etna Rosso DOC meaning that they could only contain Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes.  No blends with Nero d’Avola, Syrah, Cabernet, etc.

I brought out these old wine tasting party kits Continue reading “Top Etna Rosso Wines Blind Taste Test”

Antichi Vini di Sicilia Wine Review – No Buono

Had a really bad experience with a few wines that I bought and wanted to share and warn.  Also it has been a while since I have pretended to be a wine expert, but for these wines no expertise was needed.  We ended up dumping most of the 6 bottles that we got.  The winery is Antichi Vini di Sicilia and they have a lineup of whites and reds that are all Sicilian.  They were having a tasting at the wine shop on base and I kind of felt bad for them as I was looking at other wines.  No one was giving them the time of day and that should have been a warning. haha.  I went over and started up a conversation Continue reading “Antichi Vini di Sicilia Wine Review – No Buono”

Cilda – My favorite place to buy wine in Catania

There are a lot of options when it comes to buying wine in Sicily.  Especially for those with access to Sigonella.  For a while I bought my wine at the NEX because I figured it was the best price and it was already in dollars.  My local friend Mario showed me a new option that is cheaper and has a better selection.  Its called Cilda (or C.I.L.D.A) and its on the outskirts of downtown Catania.  Turns out that this place has been in business since the 30s and is known by most Cantanese (or is it Catanianians..not sure on that one 😎

An example of the cost difference is with a typical Continue reading “Cilda – My favorite place to buy wine in Catania”

Patria Winery – Mount Etna Sicily

A new winery!  By new winery I mean one of the oldest wineries on Sicily, but new for us.  Now that I have you thoroughly confused lets talk about wine! haha.  Its been a while since we did a winery tour and the timing couldn’t be better.  Spring has started to show itself and we are getting sporadic sunny and 70 days.  Luckily we hit one of the good days for this tasting.  Also this time we had a good group of friends that joined us.  I randomly threw the idea out there a couple weeks ago and everyone else must have been feeling the itch as well because we ended up being 21 strong!!  Look out… 21 Americans & Sicilians climbing Mt. Etna to a winery for a fun filled wino day.  Sounds like Continue reading “Patria Winery – Mount Etna Sicily”

Palmento – A Great Book about Sicilian Wine and Culture

I forgot to talk about this book about a year ago when I read it.  I just ran across it in the house again and remembered that I had to share.   If you need an new book or know someone that has an interest in Sicilian wine or just Sicily for that matter this is a good one. 

This book is great because it not only talks about Continue reading “Palmento – A Great Book about Sicilian Wine and Culture”

Firriato Etna Rosso 2009

I had to write about this wine while it was still in my mind here.  We just had this last night and it was great.  This wine woke up my tastebuds with some character.  Lately wines really haven’t been surprising me… probably because we have been playing it safe with the wines we know.  I liked this red a lot and its price was nice at under €10.  Im giving it the Ferrari stamp of approval because its a good representation of the reds from Mount Etna. 🙂





West Coast Sicily Wineries – Planeta Winery & Donnafugata Winery

A trip to the West coast of Sicily has been looming over us for the past year.  It has always been on our list to explore over there, but always gets aced for something else that comes up.  The 2+ hour drive definitely has influenced our decision.  Back in August something came up that forced us to commit to a particular weekend.  That something is the annual “E’ la notte di Calici di Stelle”  at the Donnafugata winery.  That translates to “Goblets under the stars.”  Donnafugata puts this event on every year the night of San Lorenzo.  Just a blurb on this particular night:  [quote]La Notte di San Lorenzo. Every year on the night of August 10th, Italians look up at the sky to see shooting stars; more shooting stars fall than any other night of the year (in case you have your doubts, this is scientifically proven!) This holiday celebrates the martyrdom of San Lorenzo, who died on August 10th. These stars create an atmosphere of magic and hope; Italians believe that this is a night when wishes will come true. [/quote]\

It was a great experience at the “Goblets under the stars” event.  We had a pretty big group of friends join us for the event, which made it even more special.  We all gathered on the cool grass looking up at the stars and enjoyed each others company…. and the vino did flow!

We stayed a long weekend in the Sambuca di Sicilia area so that we could also go to the Planeta winery the next day.  Planeta wines are one of our favorite local wines.   They have a very wide variety of wines and all of them are high quality.  I arranged a tour, tasting, and a lunch on site.  The vineyard surrounding the winery was amazing.  The vineyard sweeps around Lake Arancio, which looks like a blue oasis.

Planeta gave us a great tour of the winery followed by a proper tasting of all the different wines Planeta offers.  Sicilians know how to do wine tastings!  The lunch that we had was also a great experience with very good food, very cool ambiance, and great company.  They set you up at a table in an old Palmento, which is an Italian word for the traditional winery where they used to stomp the grapes and bottle.  With the new wine processes the Palmentos have gone by the wayside and have been revamped into beautiful and airy meeting places.  I snapped some pictures below to try to capture the vibe.

This weekend was Bellissima!!  If you get the chance definitely try these places out.

For more info on Planeta:

For more info on Donnafugata Winery:



COS Winery Sicily

Some friends of ours were nice enough to invite us to a little weekend at a winery about an hour and a half south of where we live.  COS winery is one of Sicily’s most renowned wine makers.  But in typical Sicilian fashion we weren’t going to just taste some wines for an hour and then move onto the next winery,  we were setup to have a large lunch to accompany our tastings.  We also decided to stay the night at the winery itself, which was a very cool experience.

The guy running the show at COS is Pino.  He is a great host and was a former chef at a Sicilian restaurant in Germany.  He was at  that restaurant over 15 years.  Being able to have a Sicilian restaurant that long in Germany is a feat in itself.  Now he is enjoying a semi retirement in his homeland.  The meal that he prepared for us was amazing.

We had a group of almost 20 people.  The setting of the meal was in an old storehouse/winery that was renovated, but still carried the old world charm.  The kitchen was one that  I would kill for.  The meal/wine cost €35 per person and the rooms were €90, which included a great Sicilian breakfast.  We also went on a tour of the winery and Pino explained all the intricacies of COS wine.  All in all it is a great little getaway option.

I am really enjoying the Sicilian version of wine tasting.  It is very relaxed and usually includes a great meal, which just makes the wine ‘pop’.  I never realized how much wine tasting in the States feels like a cattle call.  The piling into party buses going from winery to winery forcing through the crowds to get a lame sip of wine and some stale crackers.  I really think if stateside wineries would go this route they would open up a whole new world of business.  COS has got it right… this is how wine was meant to be experienced.

Link to COS: