I can’t think of too many properties in Sicily, or Italy, for that matter, that turn out such a large number of outstanding wines. The family-run Benanti winery is located on the slopes of Mount Etna. These volcanic soils are the source for most of the grapes, although some of the Nero d’Avola comes from Pachino while the Zibibbo is grown on the island of Pantelleria. Readers should do whatever they can to taste these unique wines."
Benanti Serra Della Contessa Etna Rosso 2005
Other Red Blends from Sicily, Italy
The color is vivid red ruby. Aromas are ethereal and intense with hints of wild berries, peach and noble wood. On the palate, it is full, harmonic, considerably persistent and reasonably tannic.
Wine Enthusiast - "The 2005 Etna Rosso Serra della Contessa is an intense, brooding red that emerges from the glass in a large-scaled expression of dark cherries, earthiness, smoke, licorice and toasted oak. The wine turns increasingly balsamic in the glass, as layers of mentholated, spiced aromas add further complexity. This powerful wine needs at least another year in bottle for the oak tannins to melt away, but it is another compelling and absolutely delicious wine from Benanti. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020.
At the end of the 1800’s, Giuseppe Benanti, grandfather of Dr. Giuseppe Benanti, began the production of wines on one of his father’s old farms on the slopes of Mount Etna, at Viagrande (Catania). In 1988, Giuseppe Benanti revived the family’s old passion, with an extensive and selective study of the Etnean soils highly devoted to viticulture. He also investigated particular clones of indigenous vines and new oenological techniques to reproduce ancient fragrances using the most modern practices of vinification, in a perfect union of history and reality. From this five year study, wines of unique taste were produced recreating old flavors and keeping them intact over time.
Our wines have a strong personality and carry the culture and passion for wine of the Benanti family, always driven by respect for the places, terroir and old 'palmenti'. This passion, after revealing the marvels of the Etnean territory, has guided them to Pantelleria and then Pachino. Today the company, also run by Giuseppe Benanti’s sons, Antonio and Salvino, is placed in a market range of high quality level products and the request for its wines is strongly increasing. This is mainly due to the quality of its wines, known throughout Italy and abroad, and attested by many awards given annually by the most important national and international competitions. View all Benanti Wines
About SicilyView a map of Sicily wineries (SIH-sih-lee) Nero d'Avola, this hot and hilly region is diverse. Sicily was at one time more quantity focused than quality, and while it's still producing a great deal of wine, the quality coming out is much better. With poor soil (great for grapes), warm sunshine, little rainfall and good mountain terrains, this little island is perfect for making the good stuff.
Notable FactsThere are still delicious sweet wines coming from Sicily, including Marsala, Moscato di Pantelleria & Malvasia delle Lipari. But the reds are the wines making people stand up and notice. Nero d'Avola is demonstrating its potential for making deep reds with the ability to age. Some winemakers are taking a chance with international varieties, like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These grapes are sometimes blended with the Nero d'Avola or other native Italian varietals – adding a bit of international sophistication to regional charm.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.