Falling in love with the wines of Sicily

The island of Sicily has a special place in my heart as I met my wife there. We were both on a classic car rally and, feeling a little out of place, were drawn to each other. One of the other rallyists was a wealthy middle-aged Roman who was always trying to impress the ladies by ordering expensive wine. The stuff he liked had more in common with Tuscany or California than Sicily.  I left the island enamoured with the food, the scenery and with the woman who would become my wife, but not with the wine.  It turns out that I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Sicily makes some wines that taste like nothing else on earth. The place to head is the East of the Island near Mount Etna and further South around Vittoria. The best Sicilian wines are perfumed and subtle. They’re nothing like the Port-like monsters from over the water in Southern Italy. Here are some to fall in love with:

Cos Frappato 2011 (£15)

These people used to age their wines in new oak barrels to make something that my Roman friend would have appreciated. They now use a mixture of old wood, concrete and clay amphoras to create startling pure wines like this red.

Frappato IGT Sicilia 2012 (Marks & Spencer £7.99)

This red really loves to be chilled, it brings out flavours of pomegranate and blueberry.

Costa Al Sole Sicilia IGT 2010 (£8.75)

Made from Sicily’s most famous grape, Nero d’Avola, this combines ripe cherry fruit with earthy tannins and a touch of bitterness at the end; lots to get your teeth into here.

Zibibbo IGT Sicilia 2012 (Marks & Spencer £7.99)

This white evokes a sultry Sicilian evening with smells of nectarines, orange blossom and something bitter like orange peel.

This originally appeared in The Lady

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About Henry

Henry Jeffreys was born in London. He has worked in the wine trade, publishing and is now a freelance journalist. He specialises in drink and his work has appeared in the Spectator, the Guardian, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Oldie and Food & Wine magazine. He was a contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury 2013) and his book Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass was published in November 2016.
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