Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Last fall, my husband and I traveled to Sicily, Italy where we sampled several Mt. Etna wineries. Mt. Etna is Europe’s most active volcano, and it’s also home to a unique wine terroir which produces very tasty wines. The volcanic soil, called ripiddu, is rich in minerals. The white wines are typically made with Carricante, Cataratto, and Minnella grapes, indigenous to the Mt. Etna region. Red wines are usually made from Nerello grapes. The Mt. Etna wineries are not far from Taormina, which is where we stayed.
We discovered three Mt. Etna wineries we’d highly recommend, courtesy of Prestelli Sicily Tours, which created this day trip. Mariolina was our wonderful guide. All three wineries also offered a cornucopia of delicious Sicilian food. No need for breakfast beforehand!
The Scilio estate is a family owned winery in Linguaglossa, on the North East side of Mt. Etna. It has been in operation at this location since 1815. While Scilio in the past has focused on red wine, it has been increasing its white wine production. Guido from the winery provided very thorough explanations of the different wines.
· Valle Galfina Etna Bianco, 100% Carricante 😊😊
· Valle Galfina Etna Rosato, Scilio’s rosé, 100% Nerello Mascalese. ½ 😊
· Orpheus Etna Rosso, from Nerello vines more than 50 years old (and the only Scilio wine being exported to the United States) 😊+
· Sikelios Rosse di Sicilia, a dessert wine whose recipe was created by the winery owner’s grandfather (the type of grape used is a secret!) 😊
The wines were served with sun dried tomatoes, cheese, salumi, olives, olive oil, bruschetta, and bread. Yum!
Gambino Vini is higher on Mt. Etna, also in Linguaglossa. We were greeted with a welcome wine of Grillo, not indigenous to Mt. Etna but often used to make Marsala wine, on the west coast of Sicily. The views of the mountains from Gambino’s tasting room were spectacular.
While the winery explained each wine to us, it also left all of the bottles on the table so that we could “revisit” them at our leisure. Gambino will waive shipping if you buy over a certain amount (which we did!).
The tasting came with eggs, couscous, olive oil, four different kinds of cheese, olives, sun dried tomatoes, sausage, and eggplant, all foods native to the area.
· Tifeo White, made with Carricante, Catarratto and Minnella 😊+
· Tifeo Red, made with Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio 😊
· Alicant, a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache 😊+
· Petto Dragone, a reserve red made with Nerello Mascalese 😊+
3. Cantine Don Saro
Cantine Don Saro was a much smaller winery in Linguaglossa, named after owner Don Saro. Very little English was spoken here, which made the experience particularly authentic. The tasting was in the cellar, among the barrels, which was great fun. We made sure to leave room to try the generous garlic bread, cheeses, olives, salumi, and frittatas served.
· Respiro, a white made with 100% Carricante 😊
· Antè Rosso, a red made with 100% Nerello Mascalese 😊
· Rosaro, made with Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, its version of rosé 😊
We hope you enjoyed these suggestions about Mt. Etna wineries. Please feel free to send us photos of your visit to Mt. Etna wineries or elsewhere in Sicily. Saluti!
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