Wine is a reflection of its maker. Sicily’s wines are Sicilian—not characteristically Italian. Sicily’s wine region is the largest in Italy—larger than Tuscany’s, and it out-produces the productive Veneto most years. Sicily’s wines are in a rebirth these days and have shed their rap as sweet and cheap, regaining a centuries-old reputation for uniqueness and complexity that is a reflection of the land and its robust peasant cuisine.
This month’s selections are available at France 44 Wines & Spirits, 4351 France Ave. S., Mpls., 612 925-3252
Cusumano Insolia 2004, $12.99
This Insolia grape is native to western Sicily. The wine has a beautiful nose of honey and melon, with a lot of the same on your tongue. This white is full and round, with just a hint of caramel. It is rich, yet not heavy. Drink it on its own or with fish (such as tuna—or pork roast.
Donnafugata Anthilia 2004, $14.99
Two new grapes that your mouth will love are ansonica and catarratto. This wine smells like a tropical fruit buffet and would be great as a crowd pleaser for lovers of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc alike. It tastes like a cross between the two—a little buttery, but with great acid to go with seafood.
Abbazia Santa Anastasia Nero d’Avola 2002, $14.99
This wine was so drinkable, I almost finished it before I took any notes. The Nero d’Avola grape produces complex and rich wines, but you don’t have to wait ten years for it to reach its potential. It has layers of flavor—blackberry, cassis, and a touch of anise—with a silky soft finish. Have with red meat or red sauce.
Colosi Sicilia 2003, $10.99
Robust, fun, and affordable, this wine reminds me of a Chianti or rich Rioja, but with a bit more berry and cherry than either of those. It has a lot going on and would pair nicely with lamb or some good “stinky” cheese.
Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.