The island of Sicily has more land under vine than any other Italian region. Its Mediterranean climate offers hot days and temperate nights – diurnal changes as much as 30 degrees moderates the area’s long and consistent growing seasons.
Sicily’s coming-of-age in the wine arena are due to major investments – both in money and technology – and Feudo Arancio’s spectacular new winery reflects the innovations that deliver Sicily’s sea-and-sun persona to its juice.
Patterson’s recently met with Feudo Arancio Winemaker Lucio Matricardi at La Pergola in Sherman Oaks, California
, where we tasted the latest vintages of stunning value wines from the 10,000 square-foot island of Sicily
La Pergola is a charming Italian restaurant in Sherman Oaks, CA, celebrating 20 years of operation. Here, owner Tino Pettiganano shares a glass of the latest vintage of Feudo Arancio Grillo 2006 with Winemaker Lucio Matricardi.
Do You Grillo?
Sicily’s indigenous white is Grillo, possessing the crisp acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc and the creamy mouthfeel of a Chardonnay. Although the grape has been around for 2,500 years (and used in the production of Marsala) it was Feudo Arancio’s winemaking team that started selecting clones of this varietal and experimented until they found the typicity that represented the right profile in flavor, weight and quality.
It is rarely found as a varietal white, but Feudo Arancio’s Grillo is elegant and fruity, its light greenish/yellow paleness more akin to the color of white wines from Northern Italy. But through gentle methods – including stainless steel fermentation and canopy techniques – this Grillo is refreshing, with its mango and spice notes up front, alongside seamless silky creaminess that speaks of anise, lime and floral blossoms.
Indeed, Grillo is borne from Sicily’s earth, but it is a rare feat for such brightness to come out of a grape that may have been solely destined for lesser ideals.
GRILLO LABEL & GRILLO APPETIZERS: At la Pergola, Tino Pettignano pairs Grillo with figs on bruschetta, calamari and crab-filled mushrooms.
Nero D’Avola: Sicily’s Fashionably Intense Red
Paired with housemade gnocchi in a fresh tomato sauce, Feudo Arancio’s new 2005 vintage of Nero D’Avola is filled with blackberry charm wrapped in chocolate, and further enveloped in wild strawberry marmalade. Fruity but mighty, the under $10 value here is amazing.
“It’s not enough to say this red wine is fruity,” commented Winemaker Lucio Matricaldi. “It’s the aroma and taste of this specific varietal from our environment in Southwest Sicily.” Matricaldi knows what he’s looking for: this Nero is respectful of its home. Beyond its full body, it finishes in soft and engaging waves of fruit and balanced French oak.