One of Italy’s newest and hottest (pardon the pun!) appellations, Sicilia DOC combines tradition with innovation, producing some of Italy’s most interesting wines.
What to expect from Sicilia DOC
You can find all of the traditional, local grapes of Sicily here such as Nero d’Avola, Frappato, Catarratto and Grillo, plus many others. There are also international grapes such as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon which have been planted in terroirs that help express their warm climate side.
Wines to know
If you’re looking for diversity then Sicilia DOC has you covered. If you’re looking for quality, tradition, and innovation, don’t miss out on one of Italy’s newest, and most interesting appellations; Sicilia DOC.
The Cabernet of Sicily, it has rich, black fruit flavors and a rich, smooth body. We liken it to Malbec because we're seeing it produce exceptional, elegant, and age-worthy styles when grown in Sicily's mountainous regions. This grape really changes depending on where it’s grown, a bit like Pinot Noir.
In the South-East, it tends to have a full body, strong, robust tannins, ripe red fruit flavor and lots of astringency, which is great for food pairing.
In the South of Sicily it’s really hot, and so Nero d’Avola gets super ripe, very full bodied, and even has a dried fruit character. In the Western realms of Sicily Nero d’Avola has softer tannins due to the warm winds and weather blowing from the west.
The most delicate of Sicily's reds, Frappato grows well in calcareous and sandy soils, where it delivers perfumed aromas of candied sour cherry, raspberry, and flowers.
If you’re looking for the lighter, more elegant side of Sicily, Frappato is the grape for you!
Often grown in the South and South-Eastern parts of Sicily where sandy soils are found, this grape often shocks people at how elegant and ethereal it can be, despite the warm climate.
Sicilian winemakers dedicate most of their vineyard area to white wines, and Catarratto is the most planted grape in Sicily! It's been here for a long time, perhaps thousands of years, and we know this because there are many subtypes and clones.
As a wine, expect refreshing acidity and lower alcohol levels with subtle melon or peach aromas and a bit of salinity. These wines are often refreshing "beach wines".
Traditionally Cataratto was used to bulk out other wines, but now there are producers who are doing a bit of skin contact and barrel aging to make more serious examples.
Grillo ("Gree-low") is a natural crossing of Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria) and Cataratto. On the palate, expect fresh, peach or passion fruit notes similar to what you might find in Sauvignon Blanc.
Still, the wines have a rich body and mouth-filling texture, and some put it in oak barrels to add more richness and subtle vanilla notes, much like Chardonnay. This is Sicily’s up and coming white grape, with many producers experimenting and making some age worthy wines
It’s grown everywhere, but does best in the areas near Agrigento, Marsala, and Palermo. Grillo needs a lot of heat to ripen fully, so while it can grow at high altitudes, it also loves being near the warm seaside.
Helping combine traditional methods with innovation in the wine industry, Planeta has a strong focus on both international grapes and local grapes.
Their Chardonnays and Nero d’Avola have won many awards internationally. With 5 wineries to visit throughout the island, it’s easy to explore the various terroirs that Sicily has to offer.
Home to some of Sicily’s most iconic wines and historic cellars in Marsala, Donnafugata was founded by a husband and wife team in 1983. They have a number of wineries to visit throughout the island and were instrumental in helping improve Sicily’s international image as a quality wine producing region.
Biodynamic producer near Vittoria in the south-east of Sicily using amphorae and focusing on native grapes of Nero d’Avola, Frappato, Inzolia, Zibibbo, and Grecanico.
One of Sicily’s leading winemakers, Arianna produces some of the finest Frappato and Nero d’Avola blends on the island. Recently featured in Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy”, her wines are proving to the world how elegant and ethereal Sicily can be.
Using their high altitude vineyards to grow grapes high in acid, Cusumano produces high quality traditional sparkling wines from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They also make wonderful Nero d’Avola and Grillo.
With 5 different wineries scattered throughout Sicily that have accommodation, and a history going back to 1830, Tasca d’Almerita has a range of high quality wines to offer.
For an in depth breakdown of how diverse and amazing Sicilia DOC is, check out our Terroir page to discover the ancient winds, mountainous terrain, and limestone soils that make Sicilia DOC a wonderful viticultural tapestry.
Did you know?
- Sicilia DOC was founded in 2011; previously wines grown in this region were Sicilia IGT
- There are over 450 wineries producing Sicilia DOC wines, and over 7,800 growers!
- There are 58,000 acres (23,500 hectares) of vines in Sicilia DOC
- Sicilia DOC produced over 90 million bottles of wine in 2020
- Over 30% of vineyards in Sicily are certified organic
♦ The World of Sicilian Wine, Bill Nesto MW and Frances di Savino, 2013