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The history of Sicilian wines - Case Vacanze in Giardini Naxos & Taormina

The history of Sicilian wines

Legend has it that the grapevine germinated for the first time in Sicily with the help of the tears of
a thirsty Dionysus. That was how this nectar, that this divinity gave to men to comfort them of their fatigue, and to the Gods to rejoice them, was born.

Sicily strongly claims and strongly feels that it is indeed “the land of the grape and the olive”, and this denomination has its roots in remote ancient time, at the beginning of Mediterranean civilization.

The Phoenicians were the ones that first brought this precious beverage to the Mediterranean, and of course to Sicily. But findings of grapevines called “ampelids” made on the slopes of Mount Etna and also in the territory of Syracuse, prove that the wild grape was already present in Mediterranean vegetation during the Tertiary Era.

With the arrival of the Greek, precisely at Cape Schisò where they later founded the city of NAXOS (8th century B.C.), the enological culture of this great people found a fertile land in Sicily. During the 500 years that the Greek stayed in Sicily, years marked by a harmonic cohabitation with the locals, the Greek transformed the habits of the Sicilians – they turned them into experts in viticulture, but also in the cultivation of wheat and olives.

MOUNT ETNA’s presence also played an important role in creating in Sicily an optimal territory for the grapevine. The soil is very fertile, thanks to the volcanic content, the climate is always mitigated, the sun shines for the whole period necessary for the grapevine to reach maturity and produce its grapes.

This perfect environment has made the Etna-area one of the most “naturally ideal” places for producing wine, the wines that come from here are among the most important and exclusive in Italy.

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Straw wine(passito), Muscat (moscato), and Malvasia. But also Nero d’Avola, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Nerello Mascalese, Inzolia, and international grapes as well. The Sicilian wine-production is getting close, by importance, to the traditional Italian regions such as Piedmont and Tuscany.

Experimentation with allochthonous (foreign) grapes, such as Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet, has shown that the Sicilian territory is particularly suitable for this kind of cultivation.
Especially given the climate, which is very favourable for a correct maturation.

Viticulture in this area has ancient roots, as testified by coins that date back to the 5th century B.C.
The wines from Etna, with its’ varieties of white, red, rosé, and white superior, were the first Sicilian table-wines to obtain the precious D.O.C.-appellation of quality.

With its height of  3.273m, Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe and attracts enormous amounts of tourists, just as well as Taormina and Giardini-Naxos, mainly during summertime.

A special mention is deserved by the estate CHIUSA DEL SIGNORE, that after several years of inactivity
now is back, giving its contribution to the prestige of Sicilian oenology.

The wines of this particular estate have gotten excellent reviews in the “Almanac of Berebene”
(Good drinking) of 2007, published by Gambero Rosso.
Also, their prestigious wine of 2004 figure among the wines in the “Almanac of the best Italian wines of 2007”, written by Luca Maroni as well as in “A Guide to Italian Wines of 2007”.
According to “Wines of Italy” of 2007, published by Gambero Rosso Slow-Food this wine of 2004 has earned “three glasses” (tre bicchieri).

These wines from Etna have stimulated the enthusiasts: new forms of winemaking have been born, new wines figure among the D.O.C.-wines, and we see the beginning of what is often called “the Sicilian miracle”.