I just got back from an amazing trip to Sicily. We were able to revisit the volcanic soils on the East Coast of the island, near Etna, and had a chance to go to Marsala for the first time. Despite the intense sun, and hot growing conditions, in much of this island, mitigating breezes and unique microclimates lay the path for great wines.
Firriato has vineyards both on Etna and on the divine island of Favignana, off the coast of Trapani and the mainland. One of my favorites of their wine lineup was Ribeca, a wine made from 100-percent Perricone, a fantastic, red indigenous grape. Its cool fruit flavors and balanced acidity work with a wide range of foods (from the ever-present and delicious eggplant to meat). Another favorite was the Gaudensius, a slightly sweet sparkling wine made from native grapes. It is lovely as an aperitif and with some lighter foods at dinner.
Donnafugata is another classic Sicilian wine producer, of both great dry and dessert wines. One of my favorites of theirs is the Anthilia, a fairly low-alcohol, white wine made from mostly Catarratto, an indigenous variety, blended with a handful of other grapes. The wine’s flavors are fresh and mineral (and can take on a lot of classic Sicilian dishes like eggplant!).
Liza the Wine Chick