Discover Sparkling Wines of Sicily
10th January 2023
I have visited Italy countless times in the last few years and being a sparkling wine journalist, my invites and time have mostly been spent concentrated on the Northern areas where such regions as Prosecco, Franciacorta and Trento can be found. The climate and the land (terroir) of the north is very much suited to producing some of the finest examples of both tank and traditional method sparkling wines. If I am perfectly honest I had never been south of the Chianti region so when the recent email invite from Wines of Sicily arrived in my inbox I was most excited to experience the southern side of Italy at last.
Though being a wine region I had not involved myself too much in previously, the island of Sicily I was familiar with and especially the still wine side of things (yes I do venture over to the ‘wild side’ now and again) having attended varied tastings in London and been sent samples from wine connections in the region. My good friend and wine author Xiaowen Huang once sent me a comprehensive selection of Etna reds for reviewing on to Vivino, that was a good day!
So Palermo airport welcomed us members of a diverse and yet immediately gelling together wine journalists and influencers – It always helps tremendously when you have a great bunch of people that you are going to be working closely with over the coming days. When on a wine tour the days are usually long and fully packed not only with winery visits and tastings, but also plenty of travelling – You get up first thing in the morning to have breakfast together and through to last thing at night with late dinners or further wine tastings, you are all together, any me time usually occurs only when your head hits the pillow.
Sicily is an island of some 25,711 km² / 9927 square miles and is home to over five million people. It holds many delights for tourists and is quite diverse in its splendours from beaches to Europe’s tallest active volcano from historical towns to hills and mountains. The capital, Palermo, was named “the cultural capital of Italy” for 2018.
Because of Sicily’s diversity in the land structure and with it holding a total of 112,700 hectares of vineyards, we can expect an amazing diversity of aromas and flavours which is great for anyone wishing to explore the wide range of wines it produces. Still whites are the most popular to be found with reds no too far behind, less so are sparkling wine labels though speaking with one producer, they wish to increase sparkling wine production due to the popularity in the export market of bubbles.
For this tour, each morning we were there, we had a wine masterclass, delivered by Filippo Bartolotta, dedicated to educating us more on the wines of Sicily and importantly so, the influence of the terroir. From sea breezes to volcanic soils, the land on which the vines are grown offers great personality and diversity to the wines.
The DOC wine classification of Sicily sees popular indigenous grape varieties including Grillo (white) and Nero D’Avola (black) though regular names such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon also are involved – Centuries of winemaking in every part of the Sicilian landscape have proven that Sicily’s diverse wine heritage can be communicated in flavours to wine lovers around the globe.
Sparkling Wines of Sicily
I only recently, prior to my travels to Sicily, enjoyed a dinner and wine pairing event in London with (Casa Vinicola) Fazio, who showcased a selection of wines on the day and a further in-depth look at their sparkling wine range a few days later when a package arrived on my desk with several classic Sicilian Sparkling Wines from the house.
“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.” Sparkling Wines of Fazio
One of the winery visits we enjoyed was that to Duca Di Salaparuta where a likewise decent selection of sparkling wines were produced along with a very mesmerizing semi secco Floria Masala! A long lunch was enjoyed as we explored the range of wines they produced with the Charmat (tank) method Pinot Noir Black Duke Extra Brut taking my attention.
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.