Sicily, the land of abundant sun, good food, and a rich culture infused with Byzantine and Arabic influences, continues to see growth in tourism and exports. Although Sicilian wines can be inconsistent at times, winemaking is improving at a breakneck pace with prices remaining generally reasonable.
The Etna DOC is one of our favorite winemaking areas in Sicily. While also known for its catarrato-based whites, the Etna DOC zone is one of the premier areas (along with the Faro DOC) for the nerello mascalese red variety. The Etna DOC is located in eastern Sicily on the slopes of the Etna volcano; wines are derived from a minimum of 80% of the variety.
The nerello mascalese variety offers a lighter, gentler side of Sicilian reds. This rare, indigenous variety offers approachable, ripe berry flavors, gentle spices, sweet tannins and an underlying mineral earthiness; it shares many common flavor characteristics with both pinot noir and nebbiolo varieties. These wines come at attractive price points and are certainly worth trying.
One of the joys of traveling to Italy is experiencing the traditional local cuisine. Unlike America, the cuisine of Italy changes as you move from region to region (even sometimes, from city to nearby city), with each area having unique recipes, specialties and culinary traditions.
While wines based on the nerello mascalese generally do not pair well with Sicily’s vast seafood repertoire, they make the perfect match for arancini, pasta all norma, panelle, as well as chicken and rabbit dishes. Learn more about the typical foods of Sicily and other regions of Italy
Cultural Travel in Sicily
Having finally won the island of Sicily from entrenched Islamic forces after thirty years of battle, the Normans set upon creating a multicultural kingdom to inspire the world. While the Norman civilization has since faded from history, its brilliant churches, glittering with mosaic decoration, serve as enduring reminders of its greatness. Learn more about the mosaics of Palermo’s churches..