Bubbles from Sicily
17th October 2022
Located on the toe of the boot that is Italy, resting like a ball on the penalty spot just about to be nestled in to the corner of the goal by Poalo Rossi, Sicily is the largest island of the Mediterranean which at its closest is just 3.1km apart from the mainland (The Strait of Messina). Sicily, Regione Siciliana, holds nearly 10% of the total population of Italy and holds a total land size of 25,711 km2.
Tourism and agriculture play the biggest roles in the islands economy with Mount Etna at 10,890 feet (3,320 m) one of its most famous landmarks and citrons, oranges, lemons, olives, olive oil, almonds, and grapes being the most popular grown. The famous triangular island holds a volcanic topography with hilly land and a mild climate making it an excellent terroir for wine production. Approximately 450 wineries are spread across 23 recognized wine regions – There is evidence that Mycenaean traders were already around 1,500 BC. cultivated grapes in the Aeolian Islands.
One such wine region of Sicily holding a DOC classification is Erice, located on the western side of the island and for this article I will focus on one of the wineries set within this area – Casa Vinicola Fazio.
“Elegance and complexity, strength and grace. Created from the intriguing idea of demonstrating how Sicily can also be a land of sparkling wines. This experimentation project of Casa Vinicola Fazio comes to life through prestigious cuvées, with grapes of Moscato Bianco, Grillo, Chardonnay, Nerello Mascalese and Nero d’Avola wisely processed according to the traditional Martinotti or Charmat method.”
I was recently invited to a private dinner and wine tasting at the Shard in London by my good friends at UK Sommelier Association to experience Fazio Wines. During a fine and relaxing afternoon the quality of Sicily was matched against some fine gastronomy delights and I was pleasantly surprised – I am no master of this wine growing island and as of yet my experience never took me to try any wines from the Erice region. From still whites to reds and bubbles included, I have a new friend in Fazio Fizz.
A case of wines recently landed on my desk from Fazio Winery so let me share my tasting notes with you:
Grillo Spumante Brut DOC – Data Sheet – Tasting Notes: “Fresh, clean, young, vibrant. White floral, pear blossom, hay, white fruits on the nose. A white fruity character persists in the palate with added welcoming citrus.”
Nerello Mascalese Spumante Extra Dry Rosé DOC – Data Sheet – Tasting Notes: “A whisker away from a 4 star Bubbly for me. Fresh and fruity, clean and invigorating. A great summer party wine or for pairing with fine, fresh fruit desserts. Aromas are summer berry fruits, touch of savoury, faint burnt toast, sponge cake soaked in oaked alcohol. Flavours are the driving force. Highly impressive. Strawberry tart, wild strawberry, red berries. Mid palate edges towards raspberry ice-cream taste sensation with an increase white strawberry / saline close. This could pair with fine desserts.”
Grillidimare Frizzante – Data Sheet – Tasting Notes: “Lighter on the bubbles, frizzante. Discovered this winery following an invite to a private dinner at the Shard, London. Green style aromas from pear skin to star fruit. Pear blossom, herbal, freshly cut grass and more delight you. Young and fresh in character. Flavours are silky and fruity. Once again you are treated to pear delights, green skin, green pear flesh and blossom. Add to this glazed green fruits, apple.”
Aegades Erice Grillo 2021 (still white) – Data Sheet – Tasting Notes: “Fresh and clean. Fruity. Apricot, apple, silky character with soft grass, floral notes. Young style, floral, tropical, soft lemon notes in the palate.”
Blanc de Blancs Brut Spumante – Data Sheet – Tasting Notes: “Floral, white fruit flesh, silky chalky / terroir expressed on the nose. Flavours are crisp and clean with a mouth-watering dry citrus burst alongside further floral characters, touch of dry pastry / yeast, pear flesh, melon.”
Petali Moscato Spumante – Data Sheet – Tasting Notes: “Floral and yellow fruity notes on the nose. Most tempting. Flavours are vibrant and fresh, soft wine style (7% alcohol) along with fruity and floral notes mostly dried peach, white fruit flesh, yellow floral, velvety lemons.”
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.