12 of the best Sicilian Rosé Wines chosen by Gambero Rosso

May 17 2024, 13:42
Nerello Mascalese is the most prevalent grape variety in our list of excellent Sicilian rosé wines. Most of these wines come from Etna, but there are delightful surprises, including labels based on Nero d'Avola and, in one case, Pinot Noir

Nearly two-thirds of the Tre Bicchieri awarded in the Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia 2024 guide went to white and red wines (and one rosé) from the Etna vineyards. This is yet another confirmation of the extraordinary potential of this terroir, which surprises us with memorable tastings each year. However, all of Sicily is advancing rapidly in quality across all styles and regions, regardless of the size of the wineries, from large cooperatives to small artisanal winemakers or internationally renowned producers.

Sicily has been showing remarkable dynamism for some time now, gaining significant positions in both the Italian and international markets. While the major success of Sicilian wines, the “Sicilian Renaissance,” a few years ago was driven by reds, particularly Nero d'Avola, in recent years, we have seen a resurgence of whites. More than half of this year's awards went to top-class whites, made from indigenous grapes, that are complex, profound, and capable of aging, but also irresistible when young.

Of course, the reds maintain their positions, with 11 awarded wines being characterful, rich, long-lived, but also delicious when young. The natural wine sector, if we may call it that, is in full ferment here on the island, offering a range of labels that, beyond the usual requirements, are impeccable and well-executed even for the most discerning taster. How could we not award them? This is likely because a new generation of highly skilled vineyard and winery professionals has emerged, with clear ideals and goals. A combination that cannot fail.

If all of Sicilian wine has been revitalized by a wave of dynamism in recent years, bringing regional wine to the forefront both in the domestic market and internationally, we can certainly say that this explosion started in the Etna territory. Here, we focus on some of the best expressions of Etna wines, particularly in the rosé category, which is growing in quality on the slopes of Etna and holds great promise.

As we have previously highlighted regarding the best rosé wines from Puglia and Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo, rosé is not just a product category but a different interpretation of a territory. We are convinced that in recent years the growth of rosé wines has been significant. Finally, we are seeing rosés made from the best available grapes, with many wineries strongly focusing on this style, offering well-developed and important rosé ranges. The market is responding enthusiastically, both in Italy and abroad.

The best Sicilian Rosés. from Etna and beyond...

Nerello Mascalese is the most prevalent grape variety in our list of excellent Sicilian rosé wines. Most of these wines come from Etna, but there are delightful surprises, including labels based on Nero d'Avola and, in one case, Pinot Noir. Some have been awarded the Tre Bicchieri, the highest rating in the Gambero Rosso’s Vini d'Italia 2024 guide; others reached the finals with Due Bicchieri Rossi, and others, still very good, received Due Bicchieri.

Etna Rosato de Aetna 2022 by Terra Costantino (90% Nerello Mascalese, 10% Nerello Cappuccio) finally earned the winery its first Tre Bicchieri award for its consistent production without shortcuts or compromises. The 2022 de Aetna Rosato has aromas of roses, cherry, peach, and raspberry, with thyme and basil; it is fresh and saline, well-balanced in the mouth between fruit and acidity, driven by a light, lively tannin that enhances its drinkability. Fabio Costantino, a dedicated environmentalist and passionate winemaker, represents the latest generation of a family that has cultivated vines on the southern slopes of Etna since 1699.

Etna Rosato Scalunera 2022 by Torre Mora (100% Nerello Mascalese), which reached the finals, is an enchanting wine with notes of rose petals, mountain herbs, and tabacchiera peach; on the palate, it is subtle and refined, with slate nuances, fine and satisfying. The rest of the products from Mario Piccini's Sicilian winery are also good.

Ramusa Tenuta Ficuzza 2022 by Cusumano (100% Pinot Noir), which reached the finals with Due Bicchieri Rossi, is an excellent rosé. In Piana degli Albanesi, the Cusumano family planted several hectares of Pinot Noir, partly used for their classic method, partly for a rosé. The 2022 Ramusa shines with a broad and clear aromatic range that spans red berries to mountain herbs, and a refreshing drinkability balanced by light tannins.

Etna Rosato Erse 2022 by Tenuta di Fessina (80% Nerello Mascalese, 20% Nerello Cappuccio) is one of the wines presented this year by the Castiglione di Sicilia (CT) winery. Silvia Maestrelli's wines have always been elegant, embodying strong feelings, especially love. Her daughter, Lavinia Silva, continues this vision, working with sensitive winemaker Benedetto Alessandro.

Etna Rosato 2022 by Alta Mora (100% Nerello Mascalese) has beautiful iodine nuances and red fruit flavors, fleshy and vibrant. In 2013, Alberto and Diego Cusumano launched their Etna project, focusing on high-quality crus and vinifying them at their sustainably designed winery in Verzella.

Etna Rosato 2022 by Graci (100% Nerello Mascalese) is one of the wines presented this year by Alberto Aiello Graci. After returning from Milan, he dedicated himself to reviving his family's winemaking tradition, becoming a major player in the wine industry by focusing on local grape varieties, careful attention to different contrade, and a commitment to sustainability.

Romice delle Sciare 2022 by Calcagno (Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio) is impactful with peach and citrus aromas and a long smoky finish. Franco and Gianni Calcagno, joined by Giusy, have built a small-scale winery focused on traditional terroir representation, including bush vines and indigenous yeasts.

Rosato 2022 by Bonavita (60% Nerello Mascalese, 30% Nerello Cappuccio, 10% Nocera) from Faro Superiore has peach, quince, and citrus aromas, fresh, savory, and lightly tannic with great pulp and a long finish.

Costarosa 2022 by Girolamo Tola is a very pleasant and drinkable mix of black grapes, with intense berry, peach, and citrus aromas, harmonious and persistent. Located between Alcamo and Partinico, with a view of the Gulf of Castellammare, the winery is run by Girolamo "Mimmo" Tola, who inherited his passion for typical and artisanal wine from his father Francesco.

Etna Rosato Pietradolce 2022 (100% Nerello Mascalese) by Mario and Michele Faro is produced from old vineyards, totaling 32 hectares in a mosaic of about fifty different plots, all vinified separately in their modern winery in Solicchiata.

Rosachiara 2022 by Poggio di Bortolone (50% Nero d'Avola, 50% Frappato) is a delightful surprise, fragrant with fruit, fresh, and savory. For almost 230 years, the Cosenza family has been cultivating the Feudo Poggio di Bortolone, with vineyards representing about a quarter of the estate.

Rosé di Neré 2022 by Feudo Maccari (100% Nero d'Avola) benefits from the arrival of Alberto and Amedeo Moretti Cuseri, who have given new impetus to the winery in the Val di Noto, focusing on sustainability and continuing to emphasize local grape varieties like Nero d'Avola and Grillo.

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