Sicily is unique in the sheer diversity of its wine terroirs and indigenous grapes. The best wines don’t taste at all like what you expect from southern wines—they are long and elegant and not at all heavy. This is true of the wines from the high slopes around volcanic Mount Etna to the rolling hills of the interior and the sloping hills of the southern coast. Then of course there is traditional Marsala, and brilliant sweet white wines from the Lipari islands and Pantelleria. In terms of winemaking techniques you can find everything from traditional palmenti—the old stone winemaking huts—to small artisanal producers to large state-of-the art wineries. Around Vittoria, COS is Italy’s number one producer making wines in clay amphorae as the Greeks and Romans did.
~Author Robert Camuto
Trattoria Stella is hosting a unique culinary experience next week, and the second in their three part Sicilian Wine Series based on Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Oddysey by Robert Camuto. Camuto’s book began as an exploration of Sicily’s emerging wine scene, but became a chronicle of an ancient island that is undergoing a renaissance as they throw off a legacy of violence, corruption, and poverty while holding to its rich traditions.
“A friend wrote his dissertation on Sicily at the end of 2013, and recommended I read this book,” Stella co-owner and sommelier Amanda Danielson explains. “It occurred to me that despite the depth of my studies and experience with Italian wine, my knowledge of Sicily was woefully incomplete. I set out to learn more about the wines and in doing so, wanted to share with our guests the “experience” of a region. We get many requests for southern Italian wine. The consumer’s expectation of this category in general is that of inexpensive Nero d’Avola from anywhere on the island or cooking Marsala. Sicily has so much more to offer, and I want to offer a porthole through Trattoria Stella.”
The theme is Vittoria & Noto, and while the four-course wine & food tasting menu hasn’t been finalized, dishes being discussed include swordfish ragu in homage to Sicily’s ancient fish markets and other cuisine that reflects Sicily’s rich culinary traditions. For more about the Sicilian Wine Series, call Stella at 231-929-8989.
Here’s a video featuring Robert Camuto discussing the book which is available at Horizon Books.