Innovation, contemporaneity in the wine production of the associates of Assovini Sicilia

The freshness and fragrance of Sicilian white wines, the flavor and Mediterranean flavor of rosés and bubbles, the modernity of native reds, represent the wine production of this Sicilian summer.
One of the most heterogeneous in recent years, qualitatively very rich and diversified, the Sicilian 2022 vintage, which has just entered the market, has around 4.3 million hectoliters.
An average production with the last 5 years but with a -8.9% compared to the average of the last 10 years. It is the summer of whites capable of combining elegance and aromatic richness, of rosés and sparkling wines that stand out for their innovation, acid balance, sapidity and length.
The modernity of the autochthonous varieties makes the red wines of the last harvest particularly current, with fragrances and distinctive characteristics that favor consumption among young people and among those who are looking for a contemporary and fresh Sicily to drink.
In the report on the 2022 vintage, presented during Sicilia en Primeur 2023 , it emerges that the Sicilian wine-growing territories, extremely different in terms of orographic, ampelographic and microclimatic peculiarities, experienced a good production year, on average in recent years, with an increase in the richness of different qualitative expressions for the different varieties.
Despite the very worrying European climatic data, Sicily, a real wine-growing continent, thanks to the influences of the Mediterranean and the varietal richness present on the island, still has a good resilience capable of stemming the effects of climate change.
The autochthonous white varieties, Grillo, Catarratto, Carricante and Zibibbo, thanks also to the agronomic management techniques traditionally adopted in Sicily, increasingly express their centuries-old link with the island's climate and territory. But also Nero d'Avola, Perricone, Frappato and Nerello mascalese, with late ripening have responded well and are therefore valid allies for these new cultivation conditions. Surely climate change highlights and enhances more and more the resilience capacity of native varieties.
According to the results of the 2023 survey by Assovini Sicilia aimed at the one hundred member companies, 70 million bottles were produced in 2022, 99% of the companies interviewed produce DOC wines and 22% DOCG wines. In detail, in addition to whites and reds, 27% of companies produce sparkling wines, 56% sparkling wines, 75% rosé wines and 51% dessert wines. There are over 19,600 hectares cultivated by the wineries interviewed, distributed throughout the Sicilian territory, of which 34% are organic (6,750 ha).
In this mosaic of vineyards, the native vines excel. Grillo and Nero d'Avola are the most representative vines of the Sicily denomination: 74% of Assovini companies produce Grillo grapes while 77% Nero d'Avola grapes. Carricante and Nerello Mascalese are the typical vines of the Etna denomination: with a large concentration in the reference area, Carricante is produced by 46%, while Nerello Mascalese by 52% of Assovini companies. “ The Sicilian wine variety and quality, together with the diversity of the distribution areas, is the true richness of the Sicilian wine heritage ” - comments Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais , president of Assovini Sicilia.
Our associates have demonstrated great ability in enhancing native varieties. The wine-territory combination is a winner in a context such as the Sicilian one where the vocation of the different areas translates into a quality production capable of respecting the identity of the territories ” - concludes de la Gatinais.
In total, there are 14 native grape varieties most representative in the production of the members, in addition to those already mentioned: Lucido/Catarratto (64% produced), Insolia (44%), Grecanico (19%), Zibibbo (28%), Moscato white (33%), Malvasia di Lipari (6%) for white berried grapes, while Frappato (42%), Nerello Cappuccio (32%), Nocera (10%), Perricone (25%) for berried grapes Black. Among the international ones, the most representative are Chardonnay (48%) for white berried grapes and Syrah (64%) for black berried grapes.
“ And it is precisely in the ancient varieties, such as those that are recovering in Sicily, that post-modern oenology will be able to draw to obtain contemporary wines in this production context subject to climate change - says Mattia Filippi of Uva Sapiens, who curated the report on the 2022 vintage . In fact, there are some relic varieties that were abandoned because they were difficult to grow in the past or with inadequate quality profiles in the period when the market and consumption were looking for different standards. Today, characteristics such as the ability to accumulate little sugar, and therefore to obtain wines with less alcohol, and the possibility of obtaining grapes with a great endowment of natural acidity, are extremely advantageous both for the climatic conditions of the last decade, and for the consumption is looking for these types of wine, less alcoholic, more fragrant and territorial ”- continues Filippi