SI­CILY: SUS­TAIN­ABLE BY NA­TURE

The iconic grapes of Si­cily out­line an itin­er­ary of ex­pe­ri­ence and fla­vors that re­veal a pe­cu­liar iden­tity, which en­cap­su­lates the won­ders of Mediter­ranean civ­i­liza­tion.

All About Italy (USA) - - Editorial - Elisa Rodi

Born as an is­land is some­how con­ced­ing to the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing com­plete. To be born in Si­cily is to boast an in­ter­nal di­ver­sity which in it­self is enough to consider one­self a na­tion which, due to its dy­namism - cul­tural, ter­ri­to­rial, gas­tro­nomic - does not need added value.

Si­cily is con­sid­ered a con­ti­nent in it­self, where the black lava ter­rain merges with the white of the salt flats. And where the coasts form sin­u­ous lines sur­round­ing a ter­ri­tory on which hills rise, and are ex­posed to the Si­cil­ian winds.

Si­cily is com­plex­ity, some­times con­trast­ing, yet so ex­traor­di­nar­ily per­fect in restor­ing beauty and value, am­biance and re­sources. The oeno­log­i­cal pro­duc­tion of the is­land is un­doubt­edly the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the good fruits of this nat­u­ral gen­eros­ity. So vi­brant in its nu­ances, so de­ter­mined in its iden­tity, that it roots it­self in the cul­ti­vated land yet still knows how to let it­self be in­spired and ful­filled by the ter­ri­to­rial scents that - by ge­og­ra­phy or cul­ture - in­flu­ence it. Si­cily, a cross­roads be­tween Europe, Africa and the Mid­dle East, is the mother of a wine tra­di­tion that is able to en­cap­su­late dif­fer­ent and never pre­dictable taste ex­pe­ri­ences, which are found ev­ery time a bot­tle of lo­cal wine ar­rives on in­ter­na­tional ta­bles.

Where na­ture is gen­er­ous, agri­cul­ture can also re­spond in the right way. Si­cily is the first re­gion in Italy ded­i­cated to or­ganic agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, which re­sults in ex­cel­lence in the world of wine. The pri­macy is made pos­si­ble by ideal cli­matic con­di­tions, fer­tile soils and winds. But also, by prodi­gious hu­man at­ten­tion and pro­fes­sion­al­ism that is main­tained by in­di­vid­ual pro­duc­ers and sup­ported by the Con­sorzio di Tutela Vini Si­cilia DOC (which has led the way in con­ser­va­tion and pro­mo­tion of the wine her­itage since 2012). The work of the Con­sor­tium was started and still con­tin­ues to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity, re­duc­ing un­nec­es­sary treatments on plants and vines, pre­cisely be­cause the is­land’s in­nate con­di­tions are fa­vor­able for growth.

Si­cil­ian sus­tain­abil­ity is there­fore in­ter­twined with re­spect for one’s ac­tiv­i­ties and au­then­tic­ity, aimed at pro­tect­ing the rich­ness and va­ri­ety of the ter­ri­tory. The re­sult is a high­qual­ity prod­uct that fully re­spects the en­vi­ron­ment, a wine born from the priv­i­lege of an is­land that is sus­tain­able by na­ture. Tra­di­tion re­mains the root of oeno­log­i­cal cul­ture, but does not limit its vi­sion: new gen­er­a­tions of Si­cil­ian wine pro­duc­ers - which the Con­sor­tium sup­ports - work on in­creas­ingly mod­ern and fresh wines, which look to in­ter­na­tional cui­sine.

The Si­cil­ian iden­tity is found in the most fa­mous na­tive vine, Nero d’avola, elegant and with char­ac­ter. A rich red wine, loaded with taste and a dis­tin­guish­ing ruby color, it is ex­tremely vel­vety, deep and warm. The Nero d’avola is the king of Si­cily, the one that col­lects all the nu­ances of the is­land, trans­form­ing them into fla­vors rem­i­nis­cent of the warm­est earth, where the sun beats yet lets it­self be swayed by the sea breeze, un­til reach­ing har­mony and bal­ance. The taste is fruity, with flo­ral and spicy notes. An ex­cel­lent struc­ture shapes the bal­ance be­tween acid­ity and soft­ness, re­turn­ing an en­velop­ing but never im­petu­ous bou­quet. Legend has it that the vine was born from the tears of Diony­sus, who thirstily gave life to that nec­tar use­ful for com­fort­ing men and gods from their labors. To­day it is cul­ti­vated in al­most the en­tire re­gion, but its ori­gin is be­tween the Syra­cu­san dis­tricts of Noto and Pachino, where - thanks to the dry and windy cli­mate - it has found its habi­tat. Nero D’avola is par­tic­u­larly suit­able for dishes with a strong fla­vor, for foods with sweet and sour sauces and with sea­soned cheeses. It is per­fectly aligned with Si­cil­ian dishes and roasted or grilled red and white meats. And if Nero d’avola is the main red grape va­ri­ety, Grillo is the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the white fruit. Also pro­duced in pu­rity, to sat­isfy its pre­dis­po­si­tion to give life to whites char­ac­ter­ized by an aro­matic rich­ness. Grillo is sapid, en­dowed with good acid­ity and a bal­anced soft­ness. Its wine has a deep yellow straw color, a good aro­matic ac­com­pa­ni­ment, with her­ba­ceous, flo­ral and cit­rus notes, re­leas­ing a fla­vor that lends it­self read­ily to the sum­mer sea­son and to cold dishes such as fish-based ap­pe­tiz­ers, shell­fish and fresh cheeses. Two dif­fer­ent grapes, but ev­i­dently daugh­ters of their land for their de­ci­sive char­ac­ter, strongly linked to the Si­cil­ian tra­di­tion and its his­tory. The wine of Si­cily to­day is rich­ness, a com­mon thread that ac­com­pa­nies new and un­prece­dented jour­neys that con­trib­ute to ex­pand­ing the tourist of­fer­ings of the re­gion. Crossing the Si­cil­ian wine roads be­comes an ex­pe­ri­ence that unites and en­hances the cul­ture of the place, the nat­u­ral­is­tic and the en­vi­ron­men­tal aspects. Si­cil­ian wine is an ex­pe­ri­ence to cross the cul­ture of the is­land and form its iden­tity: an al­most mys­ti­cal nec­tar that be­comes the pass­port to en­ter the is­land of the Gods.

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