A contemporary and fresh touch for Sicilian summer wines
22 June 2023
The freshness and the flavor of both Sicilian white and rosé wines, the flavor of Mediterranean of the sparkling wines, the much more contemporary native red wines, represent the wine production of this Sicilian summer.
The Sicilian 2022 vintage, which has just entered the market with about 4.3 million hectoliters, it can be described as one of the most heterogeneous and diversified vintage of the last years.
This summer, Sicilian white wines combine elegance and aromatic richness, rosés and sparkling wines stand out for their innovation, acid balance, sapidity and length. The modern touch of the native varieties makes the red wines more contemporary over the years and capable of appealing young consumers who are looking for contemporary and fresh wines.
The 2022 vintage report, officially presented during Sicilia en Primeur 2023, highlights that the Sicilian wine-growing territories, extremely different in terms of orographic, ampelographic and microclimatic conditions, reported a good production, on average within the recent years, with an increase in both richness and quality.
Despite the critical European data about climate change, Sicily, thanks to the influences of the Mediterranean and its diversity, still has a good resilience capable of facing and managing successfully the effects of climate change.
The native white varieties, such as Grillo, Catarratto, Carricante and Zibibbo, thanks also to the agronomic management techniques traditionally adopted in Sicily, increasingly express the island’s climate and territory. But also Nero d’Avola, Perricone, Frappato and Nerello mascalese, have adapted well to the new conditions and challenges. Surely climate change highlights and enhances more and more the resilience capacity of native varieties.
According to the results of the 2023 survey by Assovini Sicilia aimed at the one hundred member companies, 70 million bottles were produced in 2022, 99% of the wine producers interviewed produce DOC wines and 22% DOCG wines. In detail, in addition to whites and reds, 27% of wine producers make sparkling wines, 75% rosé wines and 51% dessert wines. There are over 19,600 hectares cultivated throughout the island, of which 34% are organic (6,750 ha).
In this Sicilian wine mosaic, the native vines excel. Grillo and Nero d’Avola are the most representative vines: 74% of Assovini companies produce Grillo grapes while 77% Nero d’Avola grapes. Carricante and Nerello Mascalese are the typical vines of the Etna denomination, Carricante is produced by 46%, while Nerello Mascalese by 52% of Assovini’s members.
“The Sicilian wine variety and quality,along with the diversity, is the true richness of the Sicilian wine heritage” – comments Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais, president of Assovini Sicilia.
“Our associates have demonstrated great ability in enhancing native varieties. The wine-territory combination is a winner in a context like the Sicilian one where the vocation of the different areas turns into a quality production capable of respecting the identity of the territories” – concludes de la Gatinais. In total, there are 14 native grape varieties as the most representative in the production of Assovini Sicilia members, in addition to those already mentioned: Lucido/Catarratto (64% produced), Insolia (44%), Grecanico (19%), Zibibbo (28%), Moscato white (33%), Malvasia di Lipari (6%) for white grapes, while Frappato (42%), Nerello Cappuccio (32%), Nocera (10%), Perricone (25%) for red wines. Among the international ones, the most representative are Chardonnay (48%) and Syrah (64%).
“Since some ancient grapes have been recovering in Sicily, the wine makers are able to obtain contemporary wines and more resilient to climate change” – says Mattia Filippi of Uva Sapiens, who curated the 2022 Vintage Report. “In the past, some ancient varieties were abandoned because they were difficult to grow or the market was looking for a different taste. Today, native and relic varieties have certain features such as less sugar and alcohol which make them more appealing for the market” – continues Filippi.