By Bill Nesto, Frances Di Savino
From the earliest Greek and Phoenician settlers who colonized the island within the 8th century B.C., the tradition of wine has flourished in Sicily. A parade of overseas rulers used to be equally interested in Sicily’s fertile land, sun-filled weather, and strategic place within the Mediterranean. the fashionable Sicilian caliber wine used to be reborn within the Eighties and Nineties with the arriving of wines made with confirmed overseas types and state of the art enology. Sicily is barely now rediscovering the standard of its indigenous grape forms, resembling Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Frappato, Grillo, and distinct terroirs similar to the slopes of Mount Etna.
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Additional resources for The World of Sicilian Wine
26 The Mannino dei Plachi family of Catania also produced Etna wines, which they sent to the World’s Fair at Vienna in 1873, an exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, the 1880 International Competition in Melbourne, and the World’s Fair at Paris in 1900. a. the Flying Dutchman, set up a winery on Etna in 1900. Capitalizing on the phylloxera infestation of the vineyards in Austria-Hungary, he helped to open up this market for Sicilian wine. In the early twentieth century, the two most famous Etna producers were Carlo Tuccari of Castiglione di Sicilia, who made a wine named Solicchiata after a nearby village, and Biondi & Lanzafame of Trecastagni, which in 1913 and 1914 won top awards in several national exhibitions at Paris and Lyons in France.
By 1876, Corvo white and red were being exported to America and northern Europe. Some bottles even reached Australia. The wines won numerous awards at competitions and fairs around the world, medaling in Paris in 1878, Melbourne in 1881, and Bordeaux in 1882. Corvo white, according to the British consul Stigand, was held in higher esteem than the red. ”14 Stigand also compared Corvo sweet wine to Sauternes. In 1889, Alliata became the ﬁrst president of the Circolo Enoﬁlio Siciliano. Some forty-eight kilometers (thirty miles) southeast of Palermo at Montemaggiore, Prince Baucina planted vine cuttings from the famous Rheingau wine town of Johannisberg in the vineyards on his property, La Contessa.
2 They blocked the unloading of tanker ships at the Mediterranean port of Sète (named Cette until 1928), where most of the Sicilian bulk wine arrived. The “War of Sète” that these incidents kicked off lasted until 1980. Such demonstrations stirred the sympathy of French citizens. French politicians, under pressure to act, imposed import taxes on Italian wine. These taxes, however, violated the EU agreements guaranteeing free trade among member states. In 1976 the taxes were rescinded. By the end of the decade, of a total Sicilian production of about ten million hectoliters (264,172,052 gallons), ﬁve million (132,086,026) were exported.