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Italian Wine Hub - Extensive online database listing Italian wine producers, exporters, importers and distributors
Extensive online gallery featuring over 1,000 Italian wine labels
Extensive online gallery featuring over 1,000 Italian wine labels


Sicilian Native Vines – Second Part
Rosa D'Ancona – July 13, 2005

Sicilian IGT Wines

IGT "Camarro"
` The Camarro IGT wine is produced in a very limited area within the Partanna municipality, in the province of Trapani. It can be white, red or rosé, and all varieties can be either dry or sparkling, The red variety can also be made in the novello style (same as the French nouveau vin). This wine is made with one or more recommended and/or authorized grapes. In addition, there are both a white and a red type of Camarro that may specify the grape used, the Ansonica and Sangiovese, respectively.

IGT "Colli Ericini"
The Colli Ericini IGT is produced in the Buseto Palizzolo municipality, as well as in parts of the Valderice and Custonaci municipalities, in the province of Trapani. It can be white, red or rosé, as well as dry or sparkling.

The white wines are made with at least 50% of either Cararratto Bianco Comune or Catarratto Bianco Lucido grapes, blended with Inzolia, Damaschino and Grillo grapes. The red and rosé wines are made either as varietals or blends with at least 85% of Nerello Mascalese, Perricone (locally known as Pignatello) and Frappato grapes. the production area is the same as the Marsala DOC zone.

  Nero d'Avola
  Nero d'Avola

IGT "Fontanarossa di Cerda"
The production area is limited to the Cerda municipality, in the province of Palermo, and can be either white, red or rosé, made with the Ansonica, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes. All wines can be either dry or sparkling and the reds can be made in the novello style. The production coincides with part of the DOC zone Contea di Sclafani.

These IGT wines can be made with blends in various proportions of Inzolia, Catarratto, Trebbiano, Chardonnay, Nero d’Avola, Perricone, Nerello Mascalese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

IGT "Salemi"
The Salemi IGT production area is the entire municipality of Salemi, in the province of Trapani, and is included in the Marsala and Alcamo DOC zones. The wines can be either white, red or rosé, made with Ansonica, Catarratto, Trebbiano, Damaschino and Grecanico grapes. All wines can be either dry or sparkling and the reds can be made in the novello style.

These IGT wines can be either varietals or blends in various proportions of the Ansonica, Catarratto, Trebbiano, Grecanico and Damaschino.

IGT "Salina"
The Salina IGT wines are produced on the small group of Eolie Islands (also called Lipari Islands), in the province of Messina, in the same area where the DOC Malvasia delle Lipari is produced. The wines can be either white, red or rosé, and, in addition, can be made as varietals with the Ansonica, Cabernet Sauvignon, Calabrese, Catarratto Bianco Comune, Catarratto Bianco, Pinot Nero, Sangiovese, Sauvignon, Alicante, Barbera, Carricante, Gaglioppo, Perricone, Trebbiano Toscano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. All wines may be dry or sparkling and the reds can be made in the novello style

IGT "Sicilia"
The IGT Sicilia zone, which accounts for the majority of the production on the island, consists of the whole Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Siracusa and Trapani administrative areas, that is, the whole island. The wines can be either white, red or rosé, made with one or more grapes of the right color, which are recommended and/or authorized by each Sicilian province.

IGT "Valle Belice"
The production area corresponds to the municipalities of Santa Margherita Belice, Montevago and Menfi, in the province of Agrigento, as well as the municipality of Contessa Entellina in the province of Palermo, or, the area known as the Belice valley. this area is part of the Menfi, Contessa Entellina and Santa Margherita di Belice DOC's as well.

White Native Vines

  Nerello Mascalese
  Nerello Mascalese

The grape of this ancient Sicilian native vine, known since time immemorial, are grown almost exclusively around Trapani and on the small Eolie Islands. In local dialect the name means 'abundance' and because of the abundant fruit that it produces, it ranks among the most productive vines worldwide. There are two varieties: the Catarratto Bianco Comune (Common White Catarratto) and the Catarratto Bianco Lucido (Bright White Catarratto), the latter producing a lot more grapes than the other. The grapes are used to add body and alcohol to many Sicilian white blend wines and, because of its high sugar content, it is used widely in the production of the Marsala dessert wine.

Imported centuries ago by the Greeks, this Sicilian variety is part of the Garganega type of vines. Currently the grape is being replanted and is used as a relevant component in many modern white Sicilian wines, and its aromatic characteristics, reminiscent of the Sauvignon grape, are highly appreciated. There are about 5,000 hectares (over 12,355 acres) of this vineyards on the island and it's used in some Sicilian DOC wines .

Introduced toward the end of 19th century to substitute the vineyards destroyed by the Phillossera (Phylloxera Vastatrix), this vine (whose name means 'cricket' in Italian) is currently commanding the attention of many Sicilian winemakers. Cultivated mostly in the Marsala and Trapani areas, it is used to make seductive white wines, to which it lends a wealth of perfume and flavor. As it has high sugar content, is used in the production of Marsala dessert wines as well.

This grape is believed to be native of Sicily, which to this day, is still the only area of cultivation. In the past it was used mostly in Marsala dessert wines, as well as sold to add body and alcohol to wines produced elsewhere. The grape is used to produce either varietals or blend wines that age gracefully.  

Red Native Grapes

These native vines were already known in the 63rd century and it is believed to have originated in the provinces of Siracusa and Ragusa. Another theory maintains that it was brought over from Spain. The vine, however, is very common in Sicily, especially in the area around Vittoria. The grapes ripen around the first week of September and produce flavorful wines with hints of marasca cherry and pomegranate. It is one of the base grapes used in the making of Cerasuolo di Vittoria wine and is part of the specification for the Eloro DOC wine.

Nerello Cappuccio
The origins of the Nerello Cappuccio or Mantellato vines are unknown. Specific to the area around the Etna Volcano, the variety got its name from the characteristics of the plant, that seems to grow a natural hood (cappuccio) or cape. It is believed that it has always been cultivated in the Etna area in some percentage (15-20%) along with the Nerello Mascalese. It has been dismissed in recent decades, to the point that it risked extinction. It currently contributes 20% to the making of the Etna Rosso DOC. Used as a varietal, it produces wines that can be medium aged. As all other native vines of this area around the Etna Volcano ripen fairly late, around the mid of October.

Nerello Mascalese
The name refers to its original area, the Mascali Plain near Catania. In the 1980s it was cultivated all over the island, becoming the second most grown vineyard after the Nero d'Avola. The wines have strong tannins, good acidity and are harmonious.  Rarely made into varietal wines, this Nerello is an important component of many DOCs produced in the region.

Nero D’Avola
Described by Giacomo Tachis as the Prince of Sicilian viticulture, the Nero D'Avola is the most grown vine on the island, accounting for 14,000 hectares (34,594 acres) of vineyards. It is known also as 'Calabrese', suggesting that it may was originally brought over from Calabria, or, as other theories suggest, because of a bad translation from the Sicilian dialect ('cala' means "grape", while 'aulisi' means 'from Avola', a town in the province of Siracusa).

In the past this wine was used exclusively as ablending component for various wines and, since the 1800s, was largely exported to France to be added to local wines. Currently it is found in great quantities in the provinces of Siracusa, Caltanissetta, Ragusa and Agrigento, but is also found in the provinces of Enna, Catania, Trapani and Palermo as well. This grape is a component of about 20 Sicilian DOC wines. With elevated sugar content and balanced acidity, this grape produces great red wines, perfumed, sapid, robust and with 12% to 14% alcohol content.

This native vine has been grown locally for centuries, especially in the western part of the island. The grape produces a well-structured varietal with brick-red color tone, good body and high alcohol content with sometimes slightly bitter and strong tannins. Average fruit production per vine is 5 to 6 kg (11 to 13 pounds). There are only about 2,000 vines in the entire region, from which are made about 200 hectoliters (about 5,283 gallons) of wine per year.

Selected Wineries

Alessandro Di Camporeale
Contrada Mandranova
90043 Camporeale (Palermo)
Tel/Fax: 0924/37038
The vineyards – Nero D’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay – are located in Camporeale and Monreale. Graced by favorable sun exposition, thermal excursion, soil composition and careful management of the vineyards, the estate produces greta quality wines.
Label: DonnaTà Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT
Benanti Srl
Via Garibaldi 475
95029 Viagrande (Catania)
Tel: 095/7893438
Fax: 095/7893677
Label: Lamoremio Rosso Sicilia IGT
Cantine Barbera
Contrada Torrenova
S. P. Menfi – Porto Palo
92013 Menfi (Agrigento)
Tel: 0925/570442


On the outskirts of the town of Selinunte, the estate vineyards extend some 30 hectares (about 74 acres) and are surrounded by a striking, pristine environment neighboring a natural park. The vines are a mix of native and international varieties, all well adapted to the perfect climate conditions and soil.
Label: Inzolia Vigna Dietro le Case 2004
Cantine Calatrasi S.p.a.
Contrada Piano Piratino
90040 San Cipirello (Palermo)
Tel: 091/8576767
Fax: 091/8576041
The estate owns three wineries, one in Sicily, another in Apulia and the other in Tunisia, North Africa. A unique synergy among the terroir, the team of local expert agronomists and the experienced Australian winemakers have resulted in successful wines sold in 25 countries.
Label: Terre di Ginestra catarratto, IGT Sicilia, Bianco
Piazza del Popolo, 34
97019 Vittoria (Ragusa)
Tel: 0923/2876145
In the Sicilian enological panorama, this estate stands out because of the wine producers' total respect for the vines and care for the vineyard, which take priority over the technology applied at the winery. Among their unusual methods, the fermentation of some of the wines produced in buried terra-cotta amphorae is noteworthy.
Label: Cerasuolo di Vittoria Phitos
Via Lipari, 18
91025 Marsala (Trapani)
Tel: 0923/724200
Fax: 0923/721130
Label: Lighea Sicilia IGT
Pollara Sas Aziende Agricole
di G. Pollara & C.

C/da Malvello S.P. 4Bis Km2
90046 Monreale (Palermo)
Tel: 091/8462922
Fax: 091/8463197
Label: Principe di Corleone Inzolia IGT Sicilia

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