Let's start our talks about Sicilian wine from the Zibibbo (kind of muscatel wine), once named by Sicilians "the wine to make merry".
Brought by the Phoenicians to the Sicilian island of Pantelleria, the name Zibibbo comes from the Arab "zabib" meaning raisins. Pantelleria still is owns the biggest national production.
The prevailing use of the Zibibbo grape is to make wine or sun-dried as raisins. The wine is usually straw yellow with gold tints, very sweet, with a high alcohol content and a characteristic smell.
I would like to thank Aldo from Enoteca di Sicilia for being our guide to understand and appreciate this typical wine of Sicily.
"When we talk about Zibibbo, Aldo says, we refer both to the name of the vine and the wine we get from it. It is the perfect wine to match with typical Sicilian desserts which are greatly based on almonds suh as paste di mandorla (almond pastries) and cassata cake. Pantelleria as well as Marsala and Trapani are the areas devoted to the production in Sicily. Depending on the vintage time we have four types of different wines:
1. End of August harvest: the wine produced is a very fragrant and dry Zibibbo, a table wine perfect to macht with apetizers and fish-dishes, to drink at 12°/13°C.
2. September harvest: the wine becomes gold yellow, sweet, perfect to match with Sicilian desserts such as almond pastries, cassata and cannoli. To drink at 13°/14°C
I suggest to try "Zibibbo dolce" by Pipitone Spanò winery (about Eur 18,00).
3. End of September harvest: the grapes are dried in the sun on racks. The wine becomes passito, absolutely to drink alone at 13°/14°C.
"Vigna la Miccia" by Marco de Bartoli winery (about Eur 40,00) and "Kamma" by Murana winery (about Eur 40,00) are my favourites.
4. October harvest: the ripen grape becomes a more sweet muscatel one, amber in colour and aromatic. The wine is usually named Moscato di Pantelleria, perfect to match with dry desserts and pastries. To drink at 13°/14°C. It is impossible to find two similar passito wines, as bouquet and taste vary from wine to wine depending on the components. My list of top passito wines includes:
"Bukkuram" by Marco de Bartoli winery with a distinctive feature of apricot (about Eur 65,00)
"Martingale" by Murana winery, with its prevalent feature of dried figs (about Eur 70,00)
"Sangue d'Oro" by Carol Bouquet winery (about Eur 50,00)."
Good wines make people good-humored!
Picture: © Doriana Briguglio