Tasting the Wines of Sicily, 2021 Releases

Today we present a collection of Sicilian wines, all part of a (Zoom-based) tasting organized by Assovini Sicilia, an association of 91 Sicilian wineries that is designed to promote the many wines of this region. A total of 10 wines were tasted, all made with indigenous grapes. Ready to dig in? Let’s go.

2020 Mandrarossa Costadune Perricone Rosè Terre Siciliane IGT – This rose of syrah seems impossibly bright and fruity, a fun exploration of peaches, lemon curd, and hints of coconut and banana — none of which connotes syrah in the slightest. That fruit continues well into the finish, bright with notes of honey and a gentle layer of spice. A big crowd-pleaser to be sure. A- / $16

2018 Planeta Etna Bianco DOC – Actually a bottling of carricante, per the back label. Lots of melon, threaded with lemon notes and a rush of saline, which together give this wine a crisp and bright character. The body slowly develops to showcase a lightly creamy texture, the saltiness brightening up an already lively experience even further. We last saw a fairly different expression in the 2014 vintage. This one’s a dazzler. A / $25

2020 Tasca d’Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Buonsenso Catarratto Sicilia DOC – 100% catarratto, this wine is full-bodied and rich with notes of melon, a bright lemon note perking up as it develops on the palate. The wine settles into a groove of oxidized fruit, finishing on notes of tea leaf and a hint of spice. Versatile. A- / $22

2019 Baglio di Pianetto Terre Siciliane Frappato IGT – Boldly fruity with notes of strawberry and cherry, this is a light-bodied wine that pours on sweetness, with light notes of mint and fresh greenery as the finish unfolds. A simple wine with virtually no tannin evident at all, it feels a bit like Sicily’s answer to Beaujolais Nouveau. Harmless. B+ / $14

2020 Gorghi Tondi Dume’ Frappato Sicilia DOC – Bright strawberry leads the way on this effusive but straightforward wine, its fresh fruit notes impregnated with notes of mint and some orange peel notes. Underdeveloped but impossibly sunny in character. B / $23

2019 Di Giovanna Vurria Nerello Mascalese IGT Terre Siciliane – Bold but not overwhelming, the moderately tannic wine fires up notes of tanned leather and a balsamic edge, finishing on a brambly blackberry note. The wine improves with time in glass, but keeps its earthy edge for the duration. B+ / $22

2016 Terra Costantino Contrada Blandano Etna Rosso DOC Riserva – A blend of nerello mascalese and nerello cappuccio. Dusky and brooding, this savory experience is on the flat side, with notes of turned earth and some barnyard dominating before a note of unripe plum, touched with cloves and graphite elements, comes into focus. The finish feels underdeveloped, lacking some much-needed acidity and short on fruit. B- / $34

2019 Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG – Cerasuolo di Vittoria is the only DOCG-status wine on Sicily, represented by a blend of nero d’avola and frappato. This expression doesn’t knock it out of the park, dusty and beefy up top, with balsamic and raspberry notes emerging in short order. The two elements don’t gel perfectly, the finish winding up in a fitful in-betweenness. C+ / $20

2018 Valle dell’Acate Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG Classico – Another big, burly wine, this expression is a bit more refined than Planeta’s bottling, and though it’s heavy with forest floor and balsamic notes, it has more of a sense of elegance, it’s still an aggressive, brooding experience. Notes of dried figs, a bit leathery, and raisin elements give this an appassimento character, the finish seeing some notes of red flowers as it develops. Things start off a bit tough, but the conclusion is engaging and rich. B+ / $25

2018 Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria DOC – The famed muscat-based passito wine from the nearby island of Pantelleria; the last time we reviewed it was in 2010. A touch more Maderized than I recall, this 2018 bottling has a light balsamic character to the effusive peach, apricot, and earthier honey elements in the mix. Less overtly sweet and more oxidized than I’ve encountered in prior bottlings, but it’s still a fun way to wrap up the evening. B+ / $40 (375ml) [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

2020 Mandrarossa Costadune Perricone Rosè Terre Siciliane IGT




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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