Italian Indigenous Varieties: Catarratto Bianco from Sicily

Catarratto bianco is a widely planted grape on the island of Sicily. There are two very common types of Catarratto grown: bianco comune e bianco lucido. According to experts, the latter produces more elegant wines than the former. Catarratto is a high yielding grape which does well on this Mediterranean island, especially in the province of Trapani. Catarratto is also one of the main grapes in Marsala, together with other white varieties – Inzolia (Insolia) and Grillo. It is also the main grape used to make Vermouth.

I tried a number of wines made from Catarratto during Vinitaly this year. One that really stood out for me was from Tasca d’Almerita. The wine from the Tenuta Regaleali estate, Catarratto Antisa was full-bodied and luscious on the rose and palate. I was surprised at its freshness but then I learned that the estate is located at 400-900 above sea level and therefore the grapes do get to rest from the heat of the hot sun.

I spent a lot of time tasting the wines of Tasca this year and was richly rewarded by all of them. I was also impressed by their commitment to preserving biodiversity and the environment. I will write more about Tasca separately for today is indigenous varieties day at Avvinare.

Also, today can’t go by without mentioning the horrible events in Oklahoma. My thoughts & prayers are with the people of that state which I visited in 2011 and wrote about here. My hope is that many survivors of the devastation are found quickly and that they are brought to safety.

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