A Lesser Known Wine of Sicily Benefits From Globalization (The NY Times)

Sicily is again the subject of a lesson of Eric Asimov’s Wine School; this time he speaks of Frappato on this New York Times’ article (here you can read it the complete post).

While it is true historically that Sicily’s best-known wines internationally were sweet, I would guess relatively few people in the last 20 years have seen or consumed a Sicilian sweet wine. A lot of bad ones are available, though, and the best known, Marsala, has unfortunately become a synonym for cheap “cooking wines.” Good Marsalas, like those from De Bartoli, can be exquisite, though expensive.

As for nero d’Avola, it became well known beyond Sicily in the 1990s, primarily because a few successful examples allowed Sicilian winemakers to focus on it rather than cabernet sauvignons and merlots designed to earn approval in the export market. While Sicilian nero d’Avolas back then won praise, many of the wines were heavy, out-of-balance or just plain bad. Now, the reputation is mixed for varietal nero d’Avola wines, though I have certainly had some excellent examples.

Nonetheless, nero d’Avola continues to be an important grape. In the southeast corner of Sicily around the city of Vittoria, it is often blended with frappato to produce what is now recognized as one of the island’s best red wines, Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

Did frappato and other newly anointed Sicilian red grapes like nerello mascalese simply pop into being through puffs of magic? Of course not.

They, along with nero d’Avola and many others, have long been grown on the island. For generations, they were made into bulk wines and shipped to northern Italy or France, where they were used to add color and power to local wines deemed too anemic on their own. They were also consumed locally in the communities where the grapes were grown.

Continue reading “A Lesser Known Wine of Sicily Benefits From Globalization (The NY Times)”

From the Savory Side, the Salty Carricantes of Sicily (The New York Times)

Great lesson about Etna Biancos in the Wine School of Eric Asimov, on The New York Times:

To describe a wine as “salty” may not seem like much of a compliment. Yet it can be high praise indeed.

Some of the world’s greatest wines have a distinct saline tang. In France, where the vocabulary for describing wine dwarfs the capacity of English, to remark on a wine’s “salinité” is to toss a welcome though perhaps voguish verbal bouquet.

In my experience, few wines demonstrate this notion of salinity as well as the whites in the Etna Bianco category, made largely or entirely from carricante grapes grown in the foothills of Mount Etna in Sicily. They are marked by a distinctive savory tang that the winemakers will tell you is blown in by the salty wind off the Mediterranean.

Here at Wine School, where for the last month we have been drinking Etna Biancos, we prize savory wines. We also recognize that they are likely to be an acquired taste, especially for palates honed in the United States.

Continue reading “From the Savory Side, the Salty Carricantes of Sicily (The New York Times)”

Eric Asimov racconta su The New York Times l’Etna Rosso

Il New York Times ha dedicato un articolo la scorsa settimana per presentare l’Etna Rosso ai suoi lettori.

03next-blog427

Nel post di Eric Asimov, si legge fra l’altro:

Ora il mondo capisce che l’Etna può produre rossi freschi, energici che siano anche puri, eleganti e vivaci.

Asimov focalizza la sua attenzione su tre degni rappresentanti, esportati anche oltreoceano: Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso 2014, Benanti Etna Rosso Rossodiverzella 2013 e Biondi Etna Rosso Outis 2013.

Per leggere l’intero articolo: Your Next Lesson: Etna Rosso – The New York Times