Tre Bicchieri in Sicily
When it comes to wine, Sicily just keeps getting better. Even climate change meant that the 2020 vintage was the lowest, in quantitative terms, since 1848 (under 400 million liters produced), winemakers have shown an extraordinary flexibility and ability to adapt. The island hosts the largest area of organic wine grapes cultivated, by percentage, in Italy (34%, followed by Puglia with 17%), and when it comes to biodiversity, the region is simply extraordinary, with over 70 cultivars evolving over the millennia, all subject to in-depth studies. All of this is extremely encouraging for the region’s future prospects. There is also a clear trend towards sustainability, which all of Sicily’s producers are strongly committed to. DOC Sicilia has gone from zero to around 95 million bottles in 9 years (the probable target reached by the end of 2021). In many ways, the success of Grillo-based wines on global markets has been exhilarating to witness. The long-neglected grape has proven a formidable asset, giving rise to almost 20 million bottles—a trend that appears unstoppable.
The best wines of Sicily
Of the 26 wines awarded this year, we list only those that earned Tre Bicchieri for the first time. Nino Caravaglio’s Occhio di Terra ’20, a clear, focused, satisfying and seductive wine, was duly recognized. The Settesoli’s Santannella ’20, a well-made blend of Fiano and Chenin Blanc, follows. The excellent Etna Bianco Superiore Contrada Rinazzo ’19 by Benanti also took home a gold, as did the clear, focused Faro ’18 by Giovanni Scarfone’s Bonavita. Top marks for Passopisciaro, with a superb Etna Rosso Contrada R ’19, and once again for Girolamo Russo and their Etna Bianco Nerina ’20, an elegant, sophisticated wine. Generazione Alessandro enchanted us with their Etna Rosso Croceferro ’19, while Firriato proposed the highly elegant Etna Bianco Cavanera Ripa di Scorciavacca ’20. Finally, Monteleone delivered with their Etna Bianco Anthemis ’19, a wine that stands out for its magnificent mineral background.