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How a New Generation of Wine Pros Are Positioning Sicily to be the Next Great Italian Wine Region

One is immediately struck by the sense of history when visiting Sicily, the southern Italian island that feels less like an “island” and more like its own continent.

Given Sicily’s strategic location, the island was one of the most sought-after prizes in the Mediterranean, with a long history marked by Greek, Roman, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Arab, Byzantine, Norman, French, and Spanish interests. Evidence of these varying historic influences can be seen in everything from churches and architecture to culture, cuisine, and the many ruins found on the island.

It’s no wonder Sicilian wine long struggled with an identity crisis.

For years, the Sicilian wine industry was based largely on the production of Marsala and bulk wine. However, in recent years, Sicily has started to emerge as a wine region to watch, in large part thanks to the establishment of the Sicilia DOC.

Recognized in 2011 by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies and officially established in 2012 with the aim of protecting and promoting the production of Sicilian wine, the Consorzio di Tutela Vini DOC Sicilia represents about 3,000 growers and nearly 500 winery members. This large appellation covers many of Sicily’s indigenous grape varieties, including Grillo, Catarratto, Inzolia, Nero d’Avola, Frappato, and Perricone, although certain international grapes like Syrah and Chardonnay are also allowed.

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by Robert Calvert

[…] Valle dell’Acate (valledellacate.com) is located near the Dirillo River (known in antiquity as the Achates) in southeastern Sicily. The Jacono and Ferreri families that operate Valle dell’Acate trace their winemaking roots back to the 19th century. Gaetana Jacono, current manager, represents the sixth generation of her family in the wine business. She says: “Wine is culture, a thread winding its way uninterrupted throughout history. It is something to be handed down, something to take from the past and carry into the future”.
Glowing like rubies, the Valle dell’Acate Il Frappato Vittoria DOC 2015 ($20) offers aromas of cherries, strawberries and raspberries with a sniff of sage and an intriguing fragrance of wet boulders. This 100 percent Frappato is made strictly in stainless steel to emphasize its lively, fruity flavors-cherries and raspberries principally, with smidgens of red apples and blueberries. Somebody wrote that this Frappato is “reminiscent of good Beaujolais.” He is correct. It may be something about the wine’s texture as much as its flavor. An Italian commentator wrote that Americans call this a “smiling wine.” You will smile when you sip it.
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CHARLESTON STYLE & DESIGN MAGAZINE
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