Wine Guide: Sicily

Sicily is the most south region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Its far south location has made it an excellent wine production area. Stunning reds but also white, dessert and pink wines are produced on the entire island.

Sicily has more vineyard than any other Italian region. Most of the grapes are used to make raisins making Puglia first place for wine production per region. On average Sicilians drink far less wine than any other Italians. Nevertheless Sicily produces a large variety of wines. Even though Sicily is in second place in Italian wine production per region it only has one DOCG – Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG. 23 DOC wines are produced on Sicily. For more on the wine classification system I recommend you consult this guide.

Important red wines: Below you find a list of Sicilian red wines. Certain wines will have a hyperlink which will bring to a wine review.

  • Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG
    Produced in certain municipalities of the provinces Caltanissetta, Catania and Ragusa.
    Grapes permitted: Nero d’Avola (50%-70%), Frappato (30%-50%)
  • Etna Rosso DOC
    Produced in the province of Catania. Grapes permitted: Nerello Mascalese (minimum 80%), Nerello Cappuccio (no more than 20%)
  • Faro DOC
    Produced in the municipality of Messina in the province of Messina. Grapes permitted: Nerello Mascalese (45%-60%, Nerello Cappuccio (15%-30%), Nocera (5%-10%). Nero d’Avola, Gaglioppo, Sangiovese can be added up to 15% (for example 10% Sangiovese, 5% Nero d’Avola but not 15% Nero d’Avola and 15% Gaglioppo!)
  • Vittoria Rosso DOC
    Produced in the municipality of Vittoria in the province of Ragusa. Grapes permitted: Nero d’Avola (50%-70%), Frappato (30%-50%)

Important dessert wines

  • Passito di Pantelleria DOC
    Produced on the little island of Pantelleria in the province of Trapani.
    Grapes permitted: Zibibbio 100%
  • Marsala DOC (there are two types of Marsala; see below)
    Produced in the municipalties of Pantelleria, Favignana ed Alcamo in the province of Trapani. Grapes permitted for Marasla oro e ambra: Grillo and/or Catarratto and/or Ansonica and/or Damaschino.
    Grapes permitted for Marsala rubino: Perricone and/or Nero d’Avola and/or Nerello Mascalese (maximum 30%) and/or all grapes permitted for Marsala oro e ambra.

Most wines produces on Sicily are sweet wines. Passito di Pantelleria DOC is famous and Marsala DOC are famous throughout the world. Both are rather pricy – especially Passito di Pantelleria.

Since Sicily has only one DOC wine there are many wines classified as IGT Sicilia.
Famous local wineries like Consumano and Planeta have a large variety of modern wines which don’t fall under DOC or DOCG regulations. These wines allow them to compete with mainland Italy. Sicilian Syrah wines (red and pink) are often a real treasure! The Fiano grape has been imported from Campania and many Sicilian whites wines are made from that grape.
An example of a wine classified as IGT Sicilia: 2011 Planeta – Rosé – IGT Sicilia

What you should take from this guide:

  • Sicily produces more grapes than any other region.
  • Most Sicilian wines are dessert wines. Passito di Pantelleria is the best-known one.
  • Many modern Sicilian wines are classified as IGT Sicilia since they don’t conform with old DOC/DOCG regulations.

For more guides visit this site

If you want to discuss the topic or want to give feedback then please use the comment section below.




4 comments on “Wine Guide: Sicily”

    • wineking3 Reply

      Enjoyed a small glass of passito di Pantelleria a few weeks ago at a Italian restaurant. It was so sweet and delicious. Maybe the best dessert wine I had so far

    • vinibuoni Reply

      It’s been a while since I had Passito di Pantelleria. I still remember the taste and the incredible long finish. I find it to be very expensive on most occasions but that’s the problem with most good Passitos

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