Monday, April 4, 2011

Delicious Sicily

It started with fresh tuna crusted in local pistachio's, and ended with an oversized cannoli that I'll never forget... and in between- lot's of amazing people, colors, wind, sun, rain and of course, indigenous grape varieties that stole my heart!

How do I not ramble on about the last 48 hours that I spent in Sicily, this is my present challenge.  I will do so by doing a top 10, just like Letterman - who doesn't have time to read all ten!  Then, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

In chronological order, not in order of importance:

1.  Our first day with producer Corrado Gurrieri of 'Vini la Favola,' exploring and breaking into an old abandoned, ingenious wine making facility called a 'Palmento' built in the 1700's.  Over 300 years ago in Sicily they were already making wine working with gravity on four levels, all in cement.

2.  Stealing 'roadside' artichokes with Corrado.  'Roadkill' for vegetarians??

4.  The homecooked lunch Corrado's wife Valeria prepared, which we added a last minute menu addition of our vegetarian roadkill to, aka, Artichokes.  Their own olive oil doused all over everything was absolutely incredible... and we had 'Italian Bread' done right, what a difference to that stuff you buy already bagged in the grocery store!  It was like crack... we couldn't stop eating it!

5. Frappato; it's incredibly expressive and pleasing fruit filled nose that jumps out of the glass, a super playful easy wine that is immediately likable.  It is believed that Frappato is a cross between Sangiovese and another unidentified Italian variety.  Frappato also is 30-50% of the constituent of Sicily's ONLY DOCG, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, the rest being Nero d'Avola.  ALL three of Corrado's wines (his 100% Nero d'Avola is amazing, Noto is the home and birthplace of Nero d'Avola, and it is evident in this wine) were intriguing and exciting, especially for two 'northern Italianer's'.  We have a new member of the Indie Wineries club - and I can't wait for you all to taste!!

6.  The Colors:

7. Our fearless leaders, our own Stefano Borsa (of Pacina), and enologist Fabrizio Tomas... who were a constant source of laughter and information (they have been friends since 'boydom') - and grazie to them we were able to meet these talented and special producers and enjoy Sicily from the backseat of our rent-a-car with no stress of getting lost.
Here they are, frick and frack, with producer Marchesi De Gregorio (Marchesi is in the middle):

8.  Our visit to the absolutely breathtaking estate of, 'Porta del Vento,' with producer Marco Sferlazzo.  The, 'taking of our breath' was due to the incredible backdrop of this estate, combined with the 39 knot winds blowing - threatening to lift us off our feet.  Porta del Vento means "door of the wind," ... wan't hard for them to come up with that name.

9.  Our visit to Valdibella... a cooperative of 6 partners that all have their own vineyards built as a project combined with a 'community' that houses boys from 14-18 that come from troubled families.  The boys help in the cellar, and the cooperative helps finance the community house.  Five of the 6 partners showed us around, tasted us through the new vintages in the cellar, and then we all sat down for a 'grilled lunch' prepared for us by the boys.  We found a Rose that was just perfect, some very cool Grillo and Cataratto, and a single vineyard of one of the most elegant Cabernet's I've ever tasted. The entire visit was like a scene out of a movie, Camporeale is in the heart of 'mafia' country, and these guy's are not without related problems, but they have a spirit and sense of humor and vigor for life here in their hills that they adore that is contagious.


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