Consumers who’ve discovered the wines of Sicily have almost certainly popped the cork on a bottle of nero d’avola, the indigenous red grape variety for which the island is best known. But what surprised me during a recent trip was the astonishing variety in white wines.Sure, there’s chardonnay — it’s currently much in vogue in Sicily, both as a stand-alone variety and as a blending component —but the wines that interested me the most were made from grapes like grillo, grecanico, carricante, catarratto and insolia (sometimes spelled “inzolia” and also known as ansonica). Even though Sicily’s whites aren’t well-known, white grapes account for about two-thirds of the island’s vineyard acreage. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, because white wines are the natural complement to Sicily’s seafood-centric cuisine. Tuna, swordfish and sardines are nearly ubiquitous. The cuisine also reflects the history of the island, which has been settled by such diverse people as Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors and Normans. And with its warm, sunny climate, the island has an incredible array of produce.
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