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I narrowly escaped a violent storm that rocked my home base of Dallas. San Francisco welcomed me with sun and heat. Lots of heat. Just the moment for white wines from Sicily.
Sicily's white wine is undergoing a fundamental transformation. First a little history.
Around this time, large wineries like Corvo had a winemaker from Piedmont, who radicalized white winemaking by installing “Northern Italian” temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks. You know the ones that when you take a tour now in a winery everyone shakes their head because they’ve (we’ve?) all seen enough stainless steel?
The wind-up is that Corvo became a huge brand and a champion for Sicilian wines, both red and white. They probably sold more red, but the white was the first wine to come out of Sicily in a consistent manner without unintended oxidative qualities and in sturdy, stable packaging.
That was then.
Glass Vinolok© closure on the bottling line at Cusumano
Along with that, the financial and esthetic freedom exists to push the boundaries, stretch them a little, maybe even turn back the clock and try some of the old ways. And those were some of the wines we showcased last night at A16 Rockridge in Oakland.
|A16 Rockridge's executive chef Rocky Maselli showing |
tonight's Octopus special when it was still swimming
Shelley and her team have done a great job turning people on to these “imports.” In a locavore town, that ain't always easy. But curiosity knows no borders. Oh lord, am I getting all philosophical again? Well, I am back in my home state. It’s who I am.
Some of the wines we showed and served:
Guccione Sicilia 'C' – from the Cataratto Extralucido clone. Vineyards near Palermo. This was the hairy armpit wine of the night. For me, really an old-style wine. Lots of oxidation, spicy, rich, baroque flavors. Native yeasts, organic farming practices. Even the cork and the bees wax bottle seal come from Sicily. Uber-local and while not for everyday, something to try, especially with eggplant, swordfish, sea urchin, octopus.
Not white- but while the weather is warm why not a little more rosato?
There were others and there was more ( including reds) but I have to get ready for tonight's event at A16 in San Francisco.
Come see Shelley and me and the gang at A16 tonight if you're free. It will be a standing-room-only movable-feast with the new white ( and rose' and red) wines of Sicily.
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