Have you tried any wine from Sicily recently? And do you know that Sicily is one of Europe's fastest growing wine regions?
Although a great majority of Sicilian wines is still produced by cooperatives, there is an increasing number of private estates that put a new emphasis on quality over quantity. Moreover, some of Sicily's most interesting wines come from native varieties unique to the area, including the red grapes Nero d'Avola and Nerello Mascalese, and the white Inzolia.
So this weekend we tasted an excellent Sicilian wine, the 2002 Vini Biondi Etna Rosso Outis. Etna is one of Sicily's finest DOC although vines planted on Mount Etna desert-like slopes are not easy to cultivate: the volcano has frequent eruptions and the soil has extremely fine volcanic ash and sand that can damage the vines and the farm equipment.
Outis (nessuno in Italian, nobody in English) is the name that Ulysses gave to Polyfemous the Cyclops on the foothills of Mount Etna. The wine is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, Etna's main grape varieties, that are planted on an east facing vineyard at 620 meters above sea level.
The wine had a medium red, slightly brown color, and a fragrant nose of sweet cherry liqueur and coffee. On the palate, it had a dry, tannic attack and a nice mix of aromatic herbs and vanilla on the finish. It is a distinctive wine that you should try with a Fennel and Sausage Pasta dish.
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