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Plural island and oenological continent, the complexity of Sicily is revealed in the new vintages

“Sicilia en primeur”-More and more “brand”, the Sicilian wine looks to the future: between sustainable viticulture and custody in time of biodiversity

“It is true that the Sicilies are many, we will never finish counting them. There is the green Sicily of the carob tree, the white Sicily of the salt pans, the yellow Sicily of sulfur, the blond Sicily of honey, the purple Sicily of lava. There is a Sicily “babba”, that is mild, to the point of seeming stupid; a Sicily “sperta”, that is cunning, devoted to the most utilitarian practices of violence and fraud. There is a lazy Sicily, a frenetic Sicily; a Sicily that is exhausted by the anguish of things, a Sicily that recites life like a carnival script; a Sicily, finally, that leans out from a ridge of wind in a dazzled delirium”. These are the words of Gesualdo Bufalino, to accompany us on a new journey to Sicily, from tomorrow to May 2, for “Sicilia en Primeur 2022”, in Erice, with the usual perfect direction of Assovini Sicilia, where all the complexity of this “plural island”, as the Sicilian writer “Strega Prize” described it, and a real “oenological continent”, as WineNews has always said, will be revealed to the world in the new vintages of its great wines.
“Una, nessuna, centomila (One, none, one hundred thousand)”, paraphrasing Luigi Pirandello, Sicily is an island among islands, from Aeolian to Egadi, from Pantelleria to Mozia, where vines have been cultivated for thousands of years, and from which the sea can be seen everywhere and “bathes” even vineyards, beyond rocky and sandy coasts, almost African. But from Etna, today among the Italian wine territories on the crest of the wave, to Stromboli and Vulcano, it is also the island of volcanoes, “light of ashes” as Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa called it, in an expression which evokes the paintings of Antonello da Messina. And that they are the symbol of an ancestral nature sometimes luxuriant sometimes austere, but rich in reserves and protected natural parks dotted with temples and ancient theaters, among the wonders, with baroque cathedrals and cathedrals, of a region absolutely unchanging, as Giovanni Verga defined it, and that with 111 cultural sites represents 26% of the Italian cultural heritage and much of that of Humanity for UNESCO.
A region that would not be what it is without its contradictions and its “evils”, told in a show of puppets and in the masterpieces of literature but also of cinema, and that are the result of historical and cultural stratification, ranging from Magna Graecia to illegal building. But which also appears on display in the colorful and noisy markets as in a painting by Renato Guttuso, a triumph of natural and quality raw materials, which come directly from the field to the table, and which are the legacy of the many peoples of which Sicily has been a crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and who have succeeded each other in its long history of domination. A “mosaic” of culture, nature and flavors that can be tasted in the recipes handed down over the centuries in families where old and new generations still do things together, and by an open and hospitable people, always ready to party, to gather in community and share, but also used to working hard, to fight and sacrifice, and that always looks to its past to see its future.
Merit also goes to the crossroads of climates, from the Mediterranean to the mountain one, which makes the island perfect to live there all year round, in the ancient feud as in the most modern resort, as well as to cultivate the vine in every corner, from Marsala to Trapani, from Alcamo to Palermo, from Menfi to Sciacca, from Agrigento to Vittoria, from Ragusa to Siracusa, from Vittoria to Noto, from the island of Pantelleria to the volcano Etna, passing through the Aeolian Islands. More than 70 varieties of autochthonous vines - from Nero d’Avola to Nerello Mascalese, from Frappato to Catarratto, from Grillo to Inzolia, from Zibibbo to Moscato, from Carricante to Malvasia - which, together with the international ones, make it an “oenological continent” guardian of a millenary wine tradition which, introduced by Phoenicians in the centuries BC. C., is among the most ancient ones in the world, but with a continuous will to innovate. Thanks to its many Doc - from Sicily Doc to Etna Doc, from those of Marsala and Menfi to that of Monreale, from Alcamo to Contea di Sclafani, from Contessa Entellina to Erice, from Faro to Mamertino di Milazzo, from Moscati di Noto and Siracusa to Salaparuta Doc, from those of Sambuca and Santa Margherita del Belice to those of Sciacca and Vittoria, from the Malvasia of the Aeolian Islands to the Passito of Pantelleria, next to the only Docg, the Cerasuolo of Vittoria, and without forgetting IGT as Salina and Terre Siciliane, and not only - the Sicilian vineyard is the biggest of Italy (and the first for biological surface, 30% of the Italian total): almost 100,000 hectares where the “pioneer” and consolidated companies that have pioneered the markets and the smaller and emerging ones but of absolute excellence, collaborate in a “laboratory” of private and public subjects, scholars and important universities, in which ancient vines are rediscovered and entire territories are successfully reborn. The result is biodiversity in the glass which, besides sustainability, makes it a leading region in Italy in promoting them as well.
Magical and eclectic contamination as in a song by Franco Battiato, and that makes Sicily a metaphor of the world according to Leonardo Sciascia, but that, Andrea Camilleri said, only a Sicilian can understand. Or can help us understand, perhaps in front of a glass of wine.

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