The Power of Terroir in Sicilyʼs Volcanic White Wines

Jul 31, 2019 292

BY: Eric Asimov

Sicily, like the rest of Italy, has long been known as red wine territory. Yet slowly, the whites of Sicily, particularly those grown in the foothills of Mount Etna, have been earning attention as among the most distinctive and unusual white wines in Italy, if not the world. What makes them so different? These are not conventional, fruity whites. They offer none of the tropical flavors sometimes associated with New World chardonnays, none of the peach and apricot of German rieslings, not even the tart twang of sauvignon blancs.

Instead, they have a pronounced savory flavor — salty, in a word — that gives these wines a singular nature found nowhere else. They are high in acidity and relatively low in alcohol, generally around 12.5 percent, which makes them racy and refreshing. The source of this character is the combination of carricante grapes and the volcanic soils of Etna in northeastern Sicily.

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