A wine island worth discovering: Sicily

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A wine tour to the biggest island of the Mediterranean, with a unique gastronomy and (wine) culture

Sicily, the Mediterranean Sea’s biggest island, today makes wines that compete among Italy’s best. The island also has a magnificent landscape with everything from an active volcano to fragrant orange plantations. They have an Italian cuisine based on all that can be found locally: fish and seafood, fresh and sun-ripened vegetables, fruits, olives, game and much more.

We have just published a sample program for a wine tour to Sicily, one of many exciting wine regions in Italy that we arrange wine tours to.

A wine producer in his vineyard on Etna
A wine producer in his vineyard on Etna, copyright BKWine Photography

It really feels like a faraway destination when you arrive on Sicily. Not only is it a long flight from most places. It is also the weather. At the end of October they have a climate that most of the rest of Europe only can hope for in summer. The streets are full of people of all ages, on cafés, restaurant or just walking around. There are whiffs of aromas from kitchens of homes and restaurants, wood fired pizza ovens… all different. Almost all around the clock. The fantastic fish market in Catania. And much more.

And then there is the wine and food. The wines are surprising. this far south one could easily expect overly heavy and rustic wines. But not at all. The local indigenous grapes give wines with a lot of freshness and vitality, both reds and whites. Many compete on the same level as the top Italian wines today. Cataratto, nero d’avola, frappato are the names of a few of the grape varieties. Many winemakers have come here from other parts of Italy or even from abroad because of the exciting grapes and the excellent wine growing conditions. For example on the slopes of Etna!

Wine and gastronomy on top level

Over a few decades there has been an enormous progress in the wine making an in the quality of the resulting wines. Sicily have long since left behind its one-time role of supplying large quantities of every-day wine to northern Italy. Today they are also on the forefront for organic wine-growing and winemaking.

Since there are not so many stifling rules based on ancient (more or less well-founded) traditions, as in for example Piedmont or Tuscany, there is a lot of experimentation and dynamism that is constantly driving the quality of the wines forward and upward.

A Sicilian speciality: rabbit stew and black rice
A Sicilian speciality: rabbit stew and black rice, copyright BKWine Photography

The island is full of mountains. It is not only Mount Etna that rises high. It takes a lot of time to drive around on the winding roads. But what does it matter?

There are so many things to look at. Greek temples, olive groves, vineyards, orange plantations that smell like a perfume shop when in flower, or why not Syracuse where supposedly Archimedes once said his “eureka!” Syracuse is a gem with an old town centre where at every turn of the winding streets you find an architectural wonder, or a charming restaurant.

Yes, the Sicilian food! It is clearly Italian but even more importantly it is genuinely Sicilian. different. With its own vegetables. Always fresh, sometimes grilled, sometimes preserved in olive oil.

The island is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea so you will find lots and lots of food from the water: shellfish of all kinds, octopus, tuna, and a wealth of fish, often beautiful (and delicious) and often of a kind that you have never seen elsewehre. It is not uncommon to serve fish raw or almost raw, a bit like in Japan. Quite natural actually when you consider that it is probably not more than a few hours since it came out of the sea. Sicily has a unique and wonderful gastronomy!

There are so many things to discover on Sicily. Wine, food, and many other things. Absolutely worth a trip!

Take a look at our sample program to see how a wine and food tour to Sicily can look. You can find the program under the menu Our Tours > Popular Destinations. You can check if we have one on our schedule in the menu Our Tours > Scheduled Tours, or you can contact us to discuss a custom wine tour to Sicily.

Follow the links below to read more.

Olive groves and vineyards
Olive groves and vineyards, copyright BKWine Photography

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