A Sicilian guide to successful wine pairingA Sicilian Lifestyle Blog
A discovery of indigenous grapes
The beauty behind the indegionous grape varieties is that the final wine result is not only based on the grape itself but also the terroir in which it is grown; whether that be Etna wines produced and grown on the volcanic soils of Mount Etna or a Grillo grape grown and produced up and down the coast in Western Sicily.
The importance of wine pairing
A successful wine pairing will enhance your dining experience by heightening flavours, textures and qualities in the food, that might otherwise go unnoticed. We recognise the art of wine pairing can be complicated so to help you create the ultimate Sicilian dining experience that is guaranteed to impress at your next dinner party or date night, we’ve devised a list of our top 5 Sicilian grape varieties with their perfect food pairings!
Our top 5 grape varieties:
1.Grillo – an Indigenous grape of Sicily, after a soft pressing, strictly in reduction, the must is fermented at low temperature to enhance the aroma of this wine. Ageing occurs in stainless steel. Discover Grillo Lumà, Cellaro, a Sicilian dry white wine made with 100% Grillo, slightly tannic, boasting a lively, fresh acidity, with floral hints and exotic fruit flavours.
Food pairing: light dishes or fish dishes such as Pesce Spada con Salsa di Finocchietto & Mandorle, light risotto, couscous and fish soup. Great with smoked fish and crab. Excellent aperitif.
2. Nero D’Avola – considered the most important red wine grape in Sicily and is one of Italy’s most important indigenous varieties. A dry grape, known for its superbly bold fruit-driven flavours. Discover COS Nero di Lupo, made with 100% Nero D’Avola, it has aromas of pomegranate and cloves with warm tannic notes. On the palate, complex and mineral with dried fruit flavours backed up with notes of almonds and smoke.
Food pairing: Caponata siciliana, Cotoletta di Palermitano, Cotoletta di Melanzane & Pasta alla Norma.
3. Grecanico – widely grown in the Venetoregion of North East Italy, particularly in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. This grape is used to form the base of the white wine Soave. Discover COS Pithos Bianco, a Sicilian orange biodynamic wine, with skin contact made from 100% Grecanico. Soft and understated with some floral notes meld into white, yellow stone fruits, peaches and savoury herbs, with some saline notes, excellent freshness and acidity.
Food pairing: Shellfish and all round aperitivo.
4. Catarratto – a white Italian wine grape planted primarily in Sicily. It’s mostly used in the production of light, easy-drinking white wines with lemon notes. Discover Giato Bianco, Centopassi, a blend of Grillo 60% and Catarratto 40% it has scents of wildflowers and Zagara with hints of Mediterranean herbs. Flavours of citrus fruits with a strong mineral profile. On the palate freshness is accompanied by savoury notes and a followed through with a long lasting finish.
Food pairing: Most starters can be happily complemented by this white, while pasta with seafood is a highly successful pairing such as our Prawn, Pistachio & Ricotta Tagliatelle recipe.
5. Perricone – a little-cultivated red wine grape grown in western Sicily. Most commonly used in blends with Nero d’Avola as it offers texture and a deep pigment. Discover Giato Rosso, Centopassi, a blend of Nero D’Avola 70% and Perricone 30%. This wine on the nose has intense notes of red fruits, such as blueberry, raspberry and black cherry with hints of balsamic and spicy notes of black pepper. It is earthy with vibrant acidity, a pleasant soft mouthfeel with well-integrated tannins and a long finish.
Food pairing: A great accompaniment to salami, antipasti and caponata but also primi pasta dishes such our Vday special Meatball pasta dish!
Our friends of Strazzanti
Centopassi is the viticultural soul of the social cooperatives, as under the banner of Libera Terra, they cultivate 94 hectares of land and vineyards that have been confiscated from the Mafia. All of Centopassi vineyards are organically farmed and certified and are located in the Belice Corleonese, a site particularly suited to the production of high quality wines. The soils are rich in calcaire, and the vines are located high enough above sea level to keep them fresh and interesting. The brave work undertaken by Centopassi helps create lawful work for locals and ensures good wages in addition to benefits access, such as healthcare and pensions. Not only is this project exceedingly noble but the wines are fantastic too. These products allow customers the ability to support this cause and aid in breaking the mafia’s local control.
COS Winery was founded in 1980 by three friends and expert winemakers.
Giambattista Cilia + Giusto Occhipinti + Cirino Strano = COS! Located at the farthest tip of south eastern Sicily in Vittoria, Ragusa. Now they are leaders in the wine industry with each of their wines telling a story of the Sicilian land. COS wines are certified organic and with the maceration process taking place in traditional terracotta Amphora, earthenware jars, the process produces natural micro-oxygenation without added flavors/aromas. As well as temperature regulation, preservation of wine freshness, cleanliness, Amphora is a beautiful way to age wines and also last forever when well maintained.
Cantine Cellaro’s wines are an incomparable expression of the historical region of Sambuca di Sicilia, located 40 miles southwest of Palermo, where wine had been produced for centuries. Their winemaking team carefully selects the best portions of each vineyard and reduces the yield per vine, to ensure the highest quality grapes. You may have noticed their traditional shaped bottle features a snail (Luma) which lives in the vineyards and is evidence of the clean and natural farming which takes place.