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 Oriental and the Western; in any case, it is only in the modern age that the production - and trade - of wine undergo a strong surge. The crop changes that affected the countryside of southern Italy at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and which have the most obvious manifestation in the increase in vineyards and wine production, find their complete realization in Sicily.
Historically, these changes are largely attributable to the growth in import demand for large quantities of wine, especially in France, which at the time was tormented by the spread of phylloxer infections. The fragility of this trade, however, did not take long to manifest itself and on the eve of the First World War, the viticultural geography of the southern regions (also now upset by infections and in the grip of commercial treaties) appeared to have greatly changed and resized.
From the point of view of viticulture, Sicily has always been a real “locus amoenus” in which the different types of climate and soil, with arid and rainy areas, volcanic, sandy, clayey, calcareous and even humiferous soils, have allowed diffusion in the most suitable areas of the numerous vines introduced over the millennia; but the wine tradition must be separated from the wider cultural, landscape, historical and folkloristic heritage of the island, with which it continuously intersects and from which it draws its own extraordinary characteristics.
Sicilian viticulture is therefore characterized by a complexity of native vines that can be classified according to their regional diffusion; among those with a greater diffusion in the various wine-growing areas of the region, there are: Carricante, the Catarratti (common and shiny), Nero d’Avola, Nerello Cappuccino, Nerello Mascalese, Perricone, Grillo, Grecanico, Inzolia and Frappato.
Also called Calabrese or Calabrese d’Avola, Nero d’Avola is the king of Sicilian grape varieties.
It is not known when the Nero d’Avola vineyards “landed” on the island, but its territory of origin can be traced back to the localities of Eloro, Pachino and Noto, in the province of Syracuse.
The name seems to derive from the erroneous translation of the Sicilian dialect “calaurisi”, resulting from the union of the words “calea” – or grape – and “aulisi” – from Avola, a village in the province of Syracuse. The vine prefers medium-textured soils, mainly calcareous-clayey.
The resulting wine has a characteristic ruby color, while licorice and pomegranate are the aromas that peek out at its taste. It too appears intense and velvety on the palate.
Nero d’avola 14
Syrah is one of the so-called “international” grape varieties, because it is exported from France and grown all over the world.
Originally it seems to come from the city of Schiraz, in Persia, from which it seems to have come to our country in ancient times through the city of Syracuse (a legend connected to the emperor Marcus Aurelius tells that it derives from Syracousai – Syracuse). The first evidence of Syrah in Italy dates 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 Italian regions, although its greatest diffusion was in Tuscany.
The organoleptic characteristics of the resulting wine are quite peculiar, the color is a very deep ruby red with violet reflections, the taste is elegant and complex, the nose has notes of licorice, blueberry and black mulberry.
Grillo is a white grape variety widespread above all in western Sicily. The Grillo probably finds its origin in Puglia, from where it would have come after the phylloxera, initially in the area of Marsala and then in the other provinces of the island.
It is also known by the synonym Riddu. Today it is a characteristic vine of the Marsala area and has particular importance in the production of Marsala DOC. Il Grillo had a rapid expansion in Sicily, until it occupied, around the 1930s, 60% of the vineyard area of the entire island.
The resulting wine has a brilliant straw yellow color; delicate aroma, with notes of orange blossom and white peach are associated with a harmonious and balanced taste.