Sicilia en primeur 2015

Assovini Sicilia is an association of producers who decided to join forces to communicate and promote Sicilian wines of different wine areas in the island taking advantage of Sicily uniqueness: passionate winegrowers, ideal climate for viticulture, many native varieties, great food and beautiful landscape. The annual event to present the new wines “Sicilia en primeur” takes place since 2003, another example in which Sicily showed great quality in a difficult harvest in the peninsula. 
 
Vintage 2014, one of the greatest in Sicily
Whilst in general 2014 has been a difficult harvest in many European wine regions to get healthy and ripe grapes, Sicily presented the perfect climate conditions for a great vintage. A major wind force and a complex orography, with vineyards from 200 to 1000 MSL, ensure a long maturation period and low pressure of vine diseases. 
The island can be divided in 3 main viticultural areas:
Western-central Sicily (Palermo, Trapani, Menfi)
Rainy spring and a fresh July that slowed the maturation and preserved the aromas and season ending with dry September, warmer than the past ones. 
North East (Etna area)
An area with high rainfall (1800mm!) that could actually be compared to Burgundy or Barossa valley. Scirocco wind charged with humidity in contact with Etna low temperatures results in a special microclimate, fortunately volcanic soils are well drained and ventilation preserves healthy grapes.
South East (Ragusa, Vittoria, Noto) 
A more warm and dry area touched by sea breeze specially dedicated to red wine (Nero d'Avola, Frappato) and sweet Moscato di Noto.
 
Our picks
40 producers presented their wines during 2 days in Taormina and it was a great experience being so close to them in a casual ambient during the evening. 
 
Spadafora Francesco: Grillo 2009 e Sole dei Padri 2005 Syrah “Wine for life”
Tasca d’Almerita:   Malvasia di Salina secca (DIDYME), Grillo di Mozia, 
                                   Rosso del Conte 2011 e La Monaca 2011 Syrah.
Girolamo Russo: San Lorenzo 2013 e Feudo 2013
Tenuta di Fessina: A’Puddara 2011 e 2013 Carricante Etna Bianco DOC 
Valle dell’Acate: Frappato 2014 Vittoria DOC e Tané 2010 Nero d’Avola
Tenuta Rapitalà: Vigna Casalj 2014 Catarrato Alcamo Classico e Nuhar 2013 
Fazio wines: PietraSacra Bianco 2012 Catarrato Historical Vineyard 
 
Drinking values
Sustainable Sicily: the island accounts for 38% of organic wineries in Italy
The producers from AssoVini are concerned of environment impact of their activity: recovering native grape varieties naturally adapted to Sicily microclimates, investing in technology to produce clean energy (solar panels, wind mills) and reducing the resources consumption (underground wineries, concrete tanks, efficient work procedures, drop irrigation). Several protocols of sustainable practices have been adopted by the producers (Magis, SOStain). 
 
Sicilia DOC: a flagship of much specificity
From being the wine reservoir of Northern wine regions in Italy and France to the quality revolution of the 70s that lead to the creation of wine brands bottling the wine once sold bulk. Then the easiest way to prove the quality potential of Sicily was to compete in the global markets with international varieties, especially Chardonnay. Nowadays the markets are ready to welcome the island diversity and appreciate the specificities of each area. Since 2012 the Igt Sicilia for all wines produced in the island has been upgraded to DOC with higher standards of technical specifications. The positive thing is that it is a real umbrella used by many producers and compatible with appellations specific to each territory (Erice DOC, Etna DOC and the only DOCG: Cerasuolo di Vittoria).
 
Visit Sicily
Most of the wineries offer accommodation or restaurant, so they are really equipped to welcome wine lovers as tourist visitors. An excellent opportunity to promote Sicily among consumers will be the just inaugurated Expo Milano 2015 as main figure in the Mediterranean cluster. The future challenge in Sicily is to improve infrastructures, especially main roads connecting different wine areas.