A trip to Sicily wouldn’t be the same without a wine tour, tasting or olive oil tasting.
The island’s oenological history is a varied and ancient one dating as far back to when Sicily was part of Magna Graecia (the name given by the Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy). The finest Sicilian wines have often been associated with the west coast of Sicily but the advent of new, modern and adventurous wineries have changed this perspective. Famous around the world for some of its traditional wines and spirits, Sicily boasts wine with appellation. The fertile soil is a result of Sicily’s long, hot summers which enjoy very little humidity until the harvesting in late August ensuring consistency in the grape year in year out.
Sicilian olive oil is as varied as the different regions. Olive oils from the coastal areas of the island often have more intense flavors, from the region around Ragusa, the oils have more fruit and body. Whereas oils from the hills tend to be more well-rounded. The olive varieties include Belice, Biancolilla, Moresca, Cerasuola, Nocellara, and Tonda Iblea. Notable Sicilian oils include: Villa Zottopera, Titone, Frantoi Cutrera, Gianfranco Becchina.
Just outside Noto in the countryside there’s one of the best wineries in Sicily, Planeta. Established in 1995 this family-run estate produces wine in five Sicilian Territories. The estate outside Noto ‘Buonivini’ was created in 1998 and this is where the Nero d’Avola the most important red wine grape in Sicily grows on gently sloping hills that stretch towards the sea amidst almond groves.
Planeta also have a passion for extra virgin olive oil. Their large olive grove with ancient olive trees on the protected estate at Menfi, south west Sicily, showcases the family’s love of and flair for making this Mediterranean nectar. Oils from this area are known to be well-rounded particularly oils from the Belice river.
There’s a great choice of tours and tastings and you can combine a wine and olive tasting which can also include an aperitivo and/or lunch. Wine tastings start at €40 per person.