The picture above is of a window from a Sicilian winemaker's winery to his home. The little hole in the bottom is room enough for a lupara, should anyone be so rash as to violate said Sicilian’s bottaia, or barrel room. Winemaking in Sicily was fraught with all manner of risks, from nature and from the dark heart of man. And still these people of Sicily persevered. Theirs was not an easy life or a glamorous one, but they showed strength and stamina, like their wines. And that is why I love the Sicilians and their wines so very much.
I am currently under the spell of a woman, Tresa. And her wine, the Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a wine that is rare and hard to get. And even harder to find folks who might want to know about it, for they are looking for things they cannot have. In the meantime, there is this wonderful wine, a blend of Nero D’Avola and Frappato, vinified separately and then blended, which is my current crush.
It’s not an expensive wine, selling for under $15. And it’s from a small group, who make wine fresh and with respect to their Sicilian traditions. And what are those traditions?
The room where the grapes arrive, known as a Palmento, is where the first work begins after the grapes are harvested.
In older times, there were banks of lagars where the grapes would be set and crushed softly, usually by foot. Nowadays not much of that is done. Portugal still does, but in Italy there are lagars scattered all across Southern Italy. Natural wine lovers please note – these lagars are still functional.
It’s difficult to imagine Sicilian wines outside of Sicily. Sure, there are wines pouring out of the island in to America and the rest of the world, but one must really go to the island to experience the power that the grapes have over the island and her people. An island not easily influenced or conquered. But I am spellbound by the wines of Sicily and am currently enjoying this wonderful Cerasuolo from Vittoria. You might say I am in the wetness protection program under the careful watch of a woman, Santa Tresa.
written by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
The wine: Santa Tresa Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG
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