The WSU Winery and Vineyard Tour to Sicily was a great success. We visited 11 wineries and tasted the wines that are putting Sicily in the limelight of production. Between wineries we got to see and taste what Sicily is all about! Our senses were gratified by the smell and feel of cool sea breezes in the evenings and mornings, the smell of fresh fish at the Fish Market, the site of blue sea in one direction and the constant plume from Mt. Etna in the other. And, of course, the heady smell of barrel rooms and the taste of amazing wines.
We began tasting on the west side of the island, or ‘continent’ as some Sicilians refer to it. Here our visit with Planeta, one of the biggest producers on the island, introduced us to the many growing regions on the island. We tasted Marsala made in the traditional method revived by Marco De Bartoli, at Cantine De Bartoli, and tasted wine made in an oxidative style by Marilena Barbera at Cantina Barbera. Some of our group didn’t care for this style, while others where purchasing with abandon.
But the rising star of Sicily is Mt. Etna with the multitude of terroirs which vary with the side of the mountain, the elevation, the age and nutrient content of the volcanic soil and the temperatures. This high elevation region, with as few as XX producers in 2000, is now home to XXX producers.
If you want to read more about the Mt. Etna vine region, here is a website that really captures it, and mentions most of the wineries we visited, and the grapes we tasted: http://winewordswisdom.com/wine_reviews/mount-etna-wines.html