Tasting Notes: Wines of Sicily’, presented by Paul Boyle, 26 June 2019

As Paul illustrated with the topographical map of Sicily, there are a lot of mountains on the island, not to mention the volcano! The wine growing areas concentrate in the western corner, with other regions in the other two corners of Sicily’s triangle. The most well known of Sicily’s wines is the red Nero D’Avola, but Paul set out to show there is more to it than that, with many indigenous grapes adding variety.

Several of these wines are rather scarce, and so the vintages and prices may vary from those below.

 Fedele Bianco, Terre Siciliano IGP 2017, ABV 12.5%. A lovely easy-drinking white to start the evening. 80% Catarratto, 10% Insolia, 10% Gretanico, all vinified separately. Harvested late September, organic wine. Aged on the lees. Lovely floral nose, dry on palate. Adnams £6.99.

Feudo Principi di Butera Grillo Sicilia DoC 2017. ABV 13%. The Grillo grape tolerates dry and hot conditions, and oxidises easily, requiring careful winemaking. Grillo is the grape used in Marsala. A weighty wine, reminiscent of Chenin bBanc. Tannico £14.25

Tenute Nicosia, Insolia DoC 2016 ABV 13%. The Insolia grape flowers early and is harvested early, in early September. Creamy on the palate, lowish acidity, a long ageing on the lees. Tannico £12.95

Planeta Cometa Sicilia Menfi DoC 2017 ABV 13.5%.100% Fiano grape, 90% is fermented in stainless steel and 10% in new French oak. Intense and full of character, with integrated aromatic notes of citrus and tropical fruit. Great Western Wines £25 – £30.

Donnafugata Bell’Assi Vittoria DoC 2016 ABV 12.5%. The first red of the evening, this wine is from the Rallo family who has made wine for 160 years, now marketed as Donnafugata. The company has five vineyard areas, and the Vittoria vineyards are in the southeast close to the sea. 100% Frappato. Cherries and raspberries on the nose, a real quaffing wine!  Italvinus £14-18.

Mandrarossa Cartagho IGP 2014 ABV 14%. There had to be Nero D’Avola! From the Menfi area in the north-west. 13months in old oak (mostly Slovenian oak). Rich deep colour, big, bold, with a lovely rustic note; very approachable.   Tannico £18-20

Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese 2014 ABV 14% . Named after a famous eruption which lasted 10 years, and the lava halted at the edge of the vineyards producing this wine. High (500- 800m) and harvested late (mid-October). Unusual grape, thin skinned and lighter in colour, though not in taste! Cherries and herbs, beautiful. Great Western Wines £26.50

Palari Faro DoC 2011 Salvatore Geraci ABV 13.5%. A special wine to finish, from a 7-hectare vineyard in the north-east coast, and 70-year-old vines. This DoC was about to be revoked, as no wines were being produced. On the internet there is a picture of the area, and one can understand why! Desperately steep volcanic slopes! Salvatore Geraci of Palari decided to rescue it, bought the remaining vineyard and in 1994 started to produce wine.  50% Nerello Mascalese; with a mix of other indigenous varieties. An absolutely stunning wine.  Italvinus £35 approx

A wonderful tasting of really unusual grapes and wines. Just what a Wine Club is for!

Notes by John and Sally Harris