Wines and liquors
Anyone who wants to get to know Sicily must try the local gastronomic production. The large presence of winemakers tells us how much wine counts here. As it is well-known, the climate is perfect for growing grapes, also thanks to the sea and wide freshwater presence. Here, the mild weather is the ideal habitat for this plant, so it is possible to cultivate it in the hills, near the sea and on the mountains too. Every single kind of grape has its own characteristics and organic proprieties. By now certain areas are typically characterized by the production of specific wines. You should make a dedicated trip to explore the different areas where the wine is produced. For this reason, there are various itineraries and all of them beautiful. Probably, a great idea would be to follow a special itinerary outlined on the basis of the traces of Sicilian wine. And let’s not forget that wine production includes wines but also liquors. It will be more than one case you’ll think the wine you are tasting is liquor and vice versa.
Go and have a drink
Viticulture represents a cultural symbol with a long tradition. Indeed, producing wine is an ancient practice which was started by Phoenician people. History tells us the best wine producers were the Greek and the Roman. Winemakers carry old traditions that have been handed over for generations. For sure, anyway, experimental approaches have greatly increased along the centuries. When practice and new solutions blend together, the result is always unexpected. In some case, mistakes are the best way to reach the final success. For this reason, many winemakers have a secret recipe. Sicily is one of the big region exporting wine. It is impossible to describe all wines, but it really would be a mess if we didn’t tell you about two unique and delicious wines in particular.
First, Passito is one of the most famous wines. It is characterized by an amber colour and it is also known ‘the nectar of the gods’. It is produced in the island of Pantelleria. There a long time ago a precious grape called Zibibbo was first planted by the Arabs. In fact, ‘Zaibib’ means ‘wilt’ in Arab language. Actually, the Italian name ‘Passito’ is originated from a precious action. The farmer waits for time to pass by until the grape is completely dried by the sun. This slow process concerns the levels of sugar to obtain. Indeed, this dense wine is so sweet that it tastes like honey. Usually, this wine is served with Sicilian pastries. For many years, the Passito has been awarded as ‘the best Italian wine’. You should taste it, absolutely! If you are very curious, you should try to taste the all Zibibbo species. All the winemakers in Pantelleria produce Passito in a different way. If you want to know the winemakers and this beautiful place, we suggest to stop in the island for 5 or 6 days in these incredible villas with Sea view in Sicily.
Second. In the 1833, the Florio Family extended their own business also in the wine production by founding ‘Cantine Florio’ (Winemaker Florio). Today, it is a brand known all over in the world which exports many typical wines. When that wine cellar was still small, the first wine produced was ‘Marsala’. Even before this bottle became famous, this family decided to dedicate this wine to the city of Marsala. It was a tribute to this beautiful city, literally. An example of an equally appreciated bottle is ‘Bitter Florio’ (Amaro Florio). But this is another story. If you want to deep in this zone, you could to sleep here in villas in Selinunte or explore more solutions in the luxury villas in Sicily. In general, many winemakers are also bitter producers in Sicily. Sicilian gastronomy maintains an important tradition also in this case. This kind of product is consumed as a digestive drink after you have lunch or dinner.
The liquor is usually considered as an extract of grapes or grass, but Limoncello makes an exception. This yellow alcoholic drink comes from the juice and the pulp of lemon. It is like a sweet icing! If you taste it, you’ll believe you are eating a lemon. In general, it is used to produce liquor and bitter for all the orange typologies of tree, in Sicily. The Limoncello is a liquor you can make in your home. It is really easy to prepare. It suffices to peel lemons, keep the peels on alcol and after 30 days. So you’ll obtain a lemon syrup. Then, put this on the blamer and add sugar.
It would be enough visiting this area to appreciate this incredible territory for its landscapes and countryside. Everywhere you want to go, you’ll find specific grapes or specific uses to make drinks. Especially for wine, there are several products with incredible stories. We can only mention them, like Inzolia, Malvasia, Nero D’Avola, Catarrato, Grillo, etc… In most cases, knowing the wines is an excuse to taste local food and dishes and reach particular production zones. So, check the destinations where you want to stop in Sicily. In autumn, we suggest you participate to ‘The Sicilian Wine Weekend’ in November and ‘Calice di Stelle’ during the summer. There you’ll have the opportunity to taste some winery specialities. This event is located in Marsala where excellent winemakers are gathered. In general, many wineries are open all year. They work on different phases of production according to the time of the year, but they still welcome visitors to taste the wine and visit the propriety. It is an experience not to be missed, especially because of the beautiful landscape you can see all around you.
This article was written by Giulia Sofi
Today, she creates editorial contents for cultural magazines and exhibition projects.
Her articles have been published in some art magazines like CityRivita and Insideart.