Another Stellar Sicilian

November 1, 2009

Sicily has more vineyards planted than any other region in Italy. And yet, the Sicilian section of your best local wine shop will be pretty scarce. Sicilian wines are continually outnumbered by their cousins from Tuscany and Piedmont in even the best Italian restaurants across the country.

I can tell you that the reason for the sparse presence is not lack of quality. I have mentioned in previous columns some of my favorite Sicilian producers: Ceuso and Donnafugta from Trapani; Cusumano and Tasca d’Almerita from Palermo; Planeta from Agrigento.

We can now add Feudo Principi di Butera from the province of Caltanissetta.

My first introduction to this winery was when I tasted their Insolia (Inzolia) in an agriturismo in Umbria. This grape is indigenous to Sicily. It is probably more famous for its inclusion in the final blend of making Marsala. However, when handled properly, the Insolia grape can make a beautifully fresh white wine with a deep golden-green color.

My next encounter with Feudo Principi di Butera was a wine they make with another indigenous Sicilian grape. This red wine was made from Nero d’Avola. It had the typically spicy flavor of this varietal. It was fairly complex compared to other Nero d’Avola wines that I have tasted.

Recently, Feudo Principi di Butera again caught my attention. This time it was a wine made with an international grape rather than an indigenous one. My experience with Sicilian Cabernet Sauvignons has not been extremely positive. I have tasted only one other Cabernet Sauvignon from Sicily that I could recommend to you. This 2000 Feudo Principi di Butera Sanrocco, made of Cabernet Sauvignon, is now the second. At nine years of age, this wine was still youthful ruby-red in appearance, yet had the layers of tastes associated with mature wines. It also was crafted perfectly to achieve a long aftertaste.

To be sure, Feudo Principi di Butera is a very versatile producer of quality wines from Sicily. I think that your efforts in searching for them would be well worth it.

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