Sicily… Guaranteed!!

March 1, 2008

The Italian wine business is hilarious!

Italians love to make rules. They then spend an inordinate amount of time in discovering creative ways to circumvent them.

That seems to be the case for Italian Wine Appellation Laws. The purpose of these laws is to protect the name of quality wines, while ensuring the public that those wines do indeed originate in the area that is specified on the label. There are scores of experts and wine commissions in Italy that work towards this goal.

It all started about 45 years ago with the development of D.O.C. regulations. After a few years, it was decided that additional standards be applied to further distinguish the quality and authenticity of a select group of wines. These wines would carry a D.O.C.G. label on them. This label actually guarantees the quality and origin of a wine. I won’t even get into what happened about 15 years ago when another label (I.G.T.) had to be developed!

The D.O.C.G. wines have become fairly popular. Many of you already know some of their names:

I tasted another D.O.C.G. wine lately that is not quite as popular as the above-mentioned ones. I would recommend that you become more familiar with this one, especially if you like a fresh red wine that possesses a perfect balance of fruit, richness, and tannic structure. This type of wine is extremely versatile at the dinner table.

It is called Cerasuolo di Vittoria. It is the only wine in Sicily to be given the D.O.C.G. label (about three years ago). Cerasuolo means “cherry red” in Italian; a perfect name for its red, vibrant color. Vittoria is the name of the coastal region in southeast Sicily. This wine is made from a blend of two Sicilian grapes: Nero d’Avola and Frappato.

There are two Italian producers of this wine that I see most often in this country. COS, whose owners deeply believe in the tenets of biodynamic agriculture, have just celebrated their 25th vintage. Planeta, the spectacular winery that has garnered numerous awards over the past years, describes the taste of their Cerasuolo as possessing a long finish that is due more to its freshness than its concentration.

I hope that you enjoy your quest for this D.O.C.G. wine. You can be sure that it’s from the Vittoria region in Sicily…it fact, it’s guaranteed!

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