We The Italians | Italian wine: Alcamo

Italian wine: Alcamo

Italian wine: Alcamo

  • WTI Magazine #21 Mar 14, 2014
  • 930

WTI Magazine #21    2014 Mar, 14
Author : Vino OK      Translation by:


Located in the western part of Sicily, the wine area corresponding to the present Alcamo DOC name was introduced to the viticulture by Greek colonists who settled here at least seven centuries before the birth of Christ. Then with the Phoenicians and then the Romans, the production and trade of wines from Alcamo further developed until representing one of the primary activities in the area. With the Saracen domination trade and production suffered a significant decrease, and only from 1200 onwards it resumed, with the expulsion of the Saracens from the island and the domination of kings that will not hinder wine production.

The bigger production takes place in the province of Trapani, where the geology has very sweet and low (although different altitudes ) plateaus, is characterized by the absence of waterways, however replaced by a high permeability of the mineral-rich rocks. The soils are mainly composed of limestone, marl and marly clays.

The orogeny of the island is very complex, and dates back to the prehistoric formation of the mountain chains and of the Mediterranean Sea. The nature of the terrain, soft and chalkyand with a strong presence of marl, promotes the growth and the maturation of the grapes, providing quality flavorings. The climate is very hot, typical of the island.

The grapes used in the production of the white wine under the name "Alcamo" are Catarratto, Grillo, Grecanico, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Müller Thurgau and Ansonica, otherwise known as Inzolia.

The Catarratto is, regarding the circulation, the second grape in Italy and the first in Sicily. There are two kind of Cataratto: the Common White and the Glossy White. The latter is of higher quality, but the first is the most widely cultivated for its high yields. The wines have good acidity.

The Grillo represented in the past, for its full-bodied wines, the essential basis for the Marsala. Today has given way to other varieties, and it is mainly used in the cut, with earthy and astringent wines, from citrus aromas well in time refined.
The Grecanico, as opposed to the Grillo, is experiencing an expansion of areas under vines, even if it provides non-aromatic wines, and smells similar to Sauvignon.

The official designation of origin "Alcamo" was established in 1972 by ministerial decree to permit the production of red and white wines in the provinces of Trapani and Palermo. White wines authorized are White, Sparkling White, White Classic White late harvest, while monovarietals are Ansonica or Inzolia, Grillo, Cataratto, Chardonnay, Grecanico, Müller Thurgau and Sauvignon. For the types excluding the monovarietals, Cataratto (both Common and Glossy) must be present in at least 60%, excluding the White Classic where this percentage rises to 80%.

The maximum yields are fixed at 12 tonnes per hectare for all types, except for the Late Harvest to be produced with maximum yields of 8 tons. For sparkling methodologies to be used are the second fermentation in the bottle and the autoclave, while the late harvest grapes must wither on the vine until at least September 15.

The wines are generally pale yellow, winey and fruity flavors with dry, full-bodied and slightly bitter. The combinations with the traditional Sicilian cuisine are many. The whites can be served with eggplant, asparagus, broths, but also fried vegetables, squid, cuttlefish ink risotto and other dishes based on fish. The Alcamo Ansonica goes well with swordfish, tuna and spaghetti with clams. For the Champagne you prefer shellfish and desserts, while Catarratto goes better with stuffed squid and spaghetti with mussels. If you serve lobsters and shellfish then you can choose the Chardonnay, which is also excellent with risotto, while for the fish cones the perfect match is Grecanico. The Grillo prefer fatty fish, such as pike, while for oysters is recommended Müller Thurgau.

The late harvest can be either sweet or dry and fits both the dessert of the Sicilian tradition, pastry, creamy or dry.