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A Fresh Spin On Sicilian And Puglian Italian Wines

Tom Mullen

Italy is bizarrely replete with more than 350 different grape varieties.

The Romans must have loved it.

Northern Italy has its share of established enotourism locales—such as Tuscany and Piemonte—which are well known foci for visitors. Now other regions of Italy are realizing the benefits and potential of wine tourism. Portions of southern Italy such as Sicily and mainland Puglia are now ramping up facilities for wine loving travelers.

Consider: the number of visitors to Italy increased 67% in the decade leading up to 2016, while—according to Eurostat statistics—Italy and Spain were the most popular destinations that year for non EU residents. Both Sicily and Puglia remain among the top four (of 20) wine producing regions (in terms of quantity) in the country.

As a national focus on quality rather than quantity of wine accelerates, so does local respect for lesser known and indigenous grapes in these regions. During a recent spin through parts of Sicily and Puglia, I tasted wines made from such grapes that included—for whites: Insolia, Catarrato, Grillo and Minutolo; for reds: Frappato, Negroamaro and Susumaniello.

Sicily has been gaining renown for picturesque vacations as well as for ‘volcanic wines’ from near Mount Etna and wines made from Nero d’Avola grapes. Yet striking wines are also being produced…

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