Ahhh…Palermo, Sicily…exotic, decadent and romantic…the city of Don Vito Corleone…
But Godfathers aside, the island is rich in culture, especially when it comes to food and wine. The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicilian food is a beautiful combination of influences that can be traced back to classical times.
Of course to accompany such delicious, mouthwatering dishes, the island’s wines had to keep up. And they did.
While the wines from the area of Mount Etna on the island’s east coast are currently enjoying “most favored wine” status, southwest of Palermo, off the beaten track, is the all-but-forgotten DOC of Monreale, within which lies Cerasa where Francesco Guccione is making a name for himself. Working with native grapes, including the perricone, he farms 6 hectares of vineyards that have been in his family for several generations, all of whom made wine, keeping it mostly for personal consumption. That was until Francesco came along.
The Guccione Vineyards are certified organic and Francesco moved to the biodynamic method a decade ago. The soil, mostly clay with some chalk and iron, is locally known as terre brune where, along with the vines, Francesco has planted cover crops and herbs such as chamomile and echinacea. The vines get maximum exposure, but have to dig deep to find water.
With such a terroir, and in keeping with the island’s history and culture, Guccione’s wines are intriguing, mysterious and filled with character: Guccione’s Sicilia “T” is a rare deep Trebbiano, complex yet without any added weight. As a young wine, it is fresh and can be paired with fish or a light pasta or can even be sipped as an aperitivo. But because of the depth Guccione gives to it, it lends itself perfectly to aging and can easily go for 5 – 10 years.
His Sicilia “B” is a blend of two Sicilian red varieties: Perricone and Nerello Mascalese, native to Mount Etna but also found in the northwestern part of the island. It is spicy and warm, dark red fruit giving it a lovely hint of elegance. It pairs wonderfully with red meat, game and aged cheeses.
May I strongly suggest we kiss Guccione’s ring?
Sicilia “T”: $60
Sicilia “B”: $62