Tasting Luncheon with Wines of Sicilia DOC

I was honored to join Wines of Sicilia DOC for an intimate lunch at L’Artusi hosted by Antonio Rallo, President of Sicilia DOC appellation and Board Member Alessio Planeta of Planeta Winery. The tasting luncheon was a very fulfilling experience since the first time I tried Nero D’Avola was around 2018, during a tasting class in New York City. After that experience, I decided to try other native grape varieties on the small island south of Sicily. Through this exploration, I have come to appreciate their grapes’ unique flavors and volcanic terroirs, where some grow. Additionally, I am impressed with the sustainable efforts of the local winemakers.

The stakeholders behind the Wines of Sicilia DOC

Antonio Rallo

Antonio Rallo in New York, June 2023

I had the pleasure of sitting right aside with Antonio Rallo, the President of the Sicilia DOC Consortium, working to promote the growth of the Sicilian wine industry and support local winemakers with a strategic vision. He was very kind, knowledgeable and gentile, passionate about his craft. On top of being the President of Sicilia DOC, he also manages Donnafugata, with historic cellars and over 400 hectares of vineyards. Having grown up around vineyards and cellars, he loves the land and respects family and tradition as a Sicilian through and through.

Alessio Planeta

Alessio Planeta

Alessio is an advocate for the entire Consortium. Even though his winery Planeta has been featured in White Louts HBO Max Series, he keeps his feet on the ground and has been a visionary and a loud voice for climate change initiatives in Sicily. Still moreover, he was very kind and approachable in the interchange we had during lunch. I could see the warm and how wise his decisions have been through the years.

During the tasting luncheon, we focused on Grillo.

The lunch started with the exploration of the Sicilia DOC Grillo, the island’s flagship white variety, through the tasting of the following wines:

  • Colomba Bianca, Lavì Grillo s.a.
  • Donnafugata Sur Sur Grillo 2022
  • Firriato Altavilla della Corte Grillo 2022
  • Fondo Antico Grillo Parlante Grillo 2022
  • Planeta Terebinto Grillo 2022
  • Settesoli Mandrarossa Grillo 2022
  • Ermes Quattro Quarti Grillo 2021
  • Caruso & Minini Tagos 2018  

I was impressed by their range of acidity, from medium to high. Grillo is a hybrid of Catarrato and Muscat de Alexandria. The floral scents are delicate and sophisticated, but the taste is distinct from the aroma. When it comes to taste, you’ll notice hints of tropical fruit, citrus, and green almond in all the different styles.

How Wines of Sicilia DOC has addressed climate change?

Sicily DOC addressing climate change for la familia and beyond

One of the concerns in Sicily is the drought, Antonio Rallo, current President of the Sicily DOC Consortium, stated during the Tasting Luncheon at L’Artusi hosted by himself, Antonio Rallo, President of Sicilia DOC appellation and Board Member Alessio Planeta of Planeta Winery.

However, it is not the Consortium’s primary concern regarding how climate change affects Italian Viticulture, but rather the rapid evolution of temperatures and the extremes; Alessio Planeta complemented this vision.

They have worked to reduce the carbon footprint. Even though Sicily is an island that hasn’t been affected as much as other parts of Europe, the anticipation of warmer conditions has been a concern of the Consortium for some time now.

Many of their wineries have been organic and biodynamic for quite some time to respect nature and produce as high quality and craftsmanship as possible. However, the Consortium has been engineering the observations. From my observations at the tasting lunch, they are great at collecting numbers, getting even better at managing that information, and using it to analyze and prepare a course of action in advance for their present challenges. For me, as an engineer by formation, it was technically great to see and to hear.

Try Sicilian Wines for their Native Grapes. Love them for their love for the land. You will not get enough of their minerality, and medium to high acidity. These characteristics made them the core of Sicilian Wines that will pair wonderfully with pasta and any plate!


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