A White Wine For When It’s ‘Sicily Hot’ Outside
It not surprisingly comes from Sicily.
Sicilians know a thing or two about heat. For years, large swaths of vineyards were given over to the making of the famed, but now largely forgotten, Marsala fortified wine, or were grown en masse to maximum ripeness (not a problem here) and then blended with less ripe northern Italian grapes to make the bulkiest of bulk wines.
But the ascendency of the grapes grown on the high slopes of Mount Etna (the Etna Rosso phenomena) has caused folks to take a second look at the idigenous varieties that work here…which brings us to grillo. The grape (pronounced Greel-Loh not Grill-Oh) has a long enough track record that it was evidently the fave of Julius Caesar (how’s that for a celebrity endorsement!) and it’s able to handle the heat of Sicily without baking or getting overly boozy. In fact, it’s one of those rare white varietals that, when it’s made with care, can be both crisp (think green apple skins) and savoury (think a gust of salty sea air and almonds). That’s what this bottle from Feudo Maccari has: there’s some subtle floral notes, some grassy almost-Sauvignon Blanc action and some deep and pitchy citrus. That’s a unique melange to be sure, but it works like a charm here.