The history of Sicilian viticulture runs parallel to the official history of the Island: it is believed to be a product of the meeting of two cultures, the Eastern and the Western one. However, it is only in the Modern Age that the production- and trade- of wine undergoes an important surge. Changes in cultivation that affected the countryside of southern Italy at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and that have the most evident manifestation in the increase of vineyards and wine production, find their complete realization in Sicily. Historically, these changes are largely attributable to the growth in demand for imports of large quantities of wine, especially in France, which was at the time ravaged by the spread of phylloxeric infections. The fragility of this trade, however, was not slow to emerge and on the eve of the First World War, the viticultural geography of Southern regions (itself shaken by infection and squeezed into the grip of trade treaties) appeared to be changed and downsized.

In terms of viticulture, Sicily has always been a real “locus amoenus ” in which the different types of climate and soil, with arid and rainy zones, volcanic, sandy, clayey, calcareous and even humiferous soils, have allowed the diffusion in the most suitable areas of the numerous vines introduced over the millennia; but the wine tradition cannot be separated from the wider cultural, landscape, historical and folk heritage of the Island, with which it continually intersects and from which it draws its own extraordinary characteristics.

Sicilian viticulture is therefore characterized by a complexity of autochthonous vines that can be classified according to their regional diffusion; among those with a greater diffusion in the different wine-growing areas of the region, there are: Carricante, the Catarratti (comune e lucido), Nero d’Avola, Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese, Perricone, Grillo,Grecanico, Inzolia e Frappato.

Syrah 17

Nero d’Avola 14

Also called Calabrian or Calabrian d’Avola, Nero d’Avola is the king of Sicilian grape varieties. It is unknown when the vineyards cultivated with Nero d’Avola “landed” on the Island, but its territory of origin can be found in the localities of Eloro, Pachino and Noto, in the province of Syracuse; its name may derive from the erroneous translation of the Sicilian dialect “calaurisi”, resulting from the blend of the words “calea” – or grapes – and “aulisi”- of Avola, a village in the province of Syracuse.

The vineyard prefers medium soils, mainly calcareous-clay. The resulting wine has a characteristic ruby color, while the licorice and pomegranate are the aromas that peep out at first taste. It is also intense and velvety on the palate.

Syrah 17

Syrah is one of the so called “international” grape varieties, because it was exported from France and cultivated all over the world. It seems to come from the city of Schiraz, in Persia, from which it probably arrived in our Country in antiquity through the city of Syracuse (a legend connected to the emperor Marcus Aurelius tells that Syrah derives right from Syracousai-Syracuse). The earliest evidence of Syrah in Italy date back to 1828, thanks to the Mantuan Acerbi , one of the most important Italian ampelographers. At the end of the 19th century Syrah was present in almost all the Italian regions, even if its greatest diffusion was in Tuscany.

The organoleptic characteristics of the resulting wine are rather peculiar: its color is a very intense ruby red with purple reflections, the taste is elegant and complex, to the nose it has notes of licorice, blueberry and black mulberry.

Grillo 12

The Grillo is a white grape variety widespread mainly in Western Sicily. It probably originated in Puglia, from where it would have arrived after the phylloxera, settling initially in the area of Marsala and then in the other provinces of the Island. Grillo is also known as Riddu. Today it is a grape variety characteristic of the area of Marsala and it has particular importance in the production of Marsala DOC. The Grillo has undergone a rapid expansion in Sicily, up to occupy, around the 1930s, 60% of the area planted with vines of the whole Island.

The resulting wine has a bright straw yellow color; the delicate aroma, with notes of orange blossom and white peach is combined with a harmonious and balanced taste.