Sicilia DOC tasting shows island’s ‘richness’
Earlier this week, 25 of Sicilia DOC’s leading producers assembled in London to showcase how the wines from Italy’s largest region are still capable of surprising…
Since its establishment in 2011, and the founding of the protecting consorzio the following year, Sicilia DOC has propelled the wine industry of the Mediterranean island’s wine industry to new heights. Covering more than 24,000 hectares and encompassing some 7,902 winemakers (as of 2021), it should be no surprise that Sicilia DOC wines can demonstrate such diversity and versatility.
The tasting, held in the grand setting of Westminster’s One Great George Street, featured more than two dozen producers, ranging from big names to those who should be on consumers’ radars. There was also a masterclass on Sicilia DOC from db editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt MW (pictured below).
Among the producers present at the walk-around tasting was Tenuta Gorghi Tondi, which db visited during Sicilia En Primeur last month. Export manager Ivan Gennuso shared his perspective on why it was important for the company to pay a visit to London: “The UK is a very, very important market, in general for Italy, but also for Sicily. But it is a very difficult market to enter, as it is full of wines from all over the world.”
When asked if this perspective has changed after Brexit, Gennuso shared that while the logistics of shipping have become “more difficult”, one “positive” has been that European Union funds for the promotion of Italian wine outside of the EU can now be utilised for promoting on the UK market.
Csilla Boros, Alessandro di Camporeale export manager, told db about the importance of promoting Sicilia DOC as a whole through the tasting: “It’s important to move as a group, as a unique body, to promote Sicily as a unique terroir, rather than just promoting individual companies. In terms of communication, this is a great event to show the richness of Sicily — we are the biggest island in the Mediterranean, and Italy’s biggest region. It is important to show customers this diversity — the range of expressions of Cataratto, Grillo, and Nero d’Avola, for example.”
“It’s also perfect if you’re looking for an importer,” Boros added. “We are looking for restaurant operators.”
The sentiment of being stronger together was echoed by a number of other producers, including Tenute Navarra’s Mattia Piampino: “These tastings are important because we can meet a lot of people and let them know that Sicilian wines are high quality, comparable to those of Tuscany and Piedmont.”
“If just one producer wants to promote its wine, it’s very difficult,” Piampino added. “But a consorzio brings people together, and shows that the region as a whole is something special. I hope that in the coming years we continue to promote Sicilian wine and Sicily – and the experiences you can have if you come there.”
The tasting also showcased some more unexpected wines from the region.
Of countless excellent wines, one which stood out for its uniqueness was CVA Canicattì’s Sciuscia, a late harvest Nero d’Avola from Agrigento. With its intense floral aromas, and well-integrated 100g/l of residual sugar, it offers a decidedly different expression of a grape variety that is familiar to many UK consumers.