The 12th edition of Sicilia en Primeur was held this year in Taormina at the Grand Hotel, Atlantis Bay from April 14th to April 18th. Organized by Assovini Sicily, it’s one of the most important events of the year – it’s the international preview of the last vintage, addressed to both Italian and international press.
Who is the Assovini Sicily?
Assovini Sicilia was founded in1998 by three leading wineries: Diego Planeta (Planeta Estates); Giacomo Rallo (Tenuta di Donnafugata); and Lucio Tasca d’Almerita (Conte Tasca d’Almerita) for the purposes to meet the challenges of the winemaking sector, including the promotion and communication on behalf of its members.
Assovini Sicily currently has 72-member companies, which express all the areas of production.
Today it represents 80% of bottled wine in Sicily and 59% of it is exported exclusively to USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, UK and Scandinavia. The total amount of the bottled wine by the Assovini shareholders is worth approximately 250 million euros.
Sicilia en Primeur 2015
Over 70 international and 20 Italian wine journalists attended this year’s Sicilia en Primeur. We had a chance to speak directly with owners, winemakers and marketing teams. Forty members from Assovini Sicily participated and here we the opportunity to taste over 300 wines from the 2014 harvest, including some previous years. The tasting was a full expression the different wine areas of Sicily.
This year’s theme was sustainability and biodiversity. Of the 72 members, 61% have environmental certification, 39% produce wine from organic grapes and around 82% operate according to the rules of the guided and integrated pest management. Assovini Sicilia also believe “it’s their ethical duty to the local community and nature, to be concerned for the environment”. What makes this Sicily so special is that the producers take great lengths to preserve the environment by: recovering indigenous grape varieties which are naturally adapted to their microclimates; invest in technology to produce clean energy, such as solar panels and wind mills; and reduce the resource consumption by using efficient work procedures. Several protocols of sustainable practices have been adopted.
Francesco Ferreri, President of the Association states: “we have set ourselves the aim of presenting to the world oenology quality that respects the environment and safeguarding the biodiversity that characterize Sicily”. This says it all.
Vintage 2014 – A Great Year
It was a difficult harvest everywhere but Sicily, with producers being optimistic. The weather conditions improved at the end of June and the vineyards enjoyed a warm and dry growing season typical to the island. Francesco Ferreri, president of Assovini Sicilia says: “The quality of the production this year will give great balance and elegance to Sicilian wines”.
Sicilia en Primeur 2015 – Tasting
The tasting was organized two ways.
There was the “Producers Room” which was dedicated to “meet and greet” the owners, winemakers and marketers. Here we had the opportunity to taste wines from different vintages and participate in vertical tastings, with a strong emphasis on the 2014. Then there was the “Sommelier Room” which was dedicated to tastings coordinated by sommeliers. Some of us seized the opportunity to participate in blind tastings.
Sicilia en Primeur 2015 – My 2014 Favorites and ones to look out for:
Cottanera Etna Bianco 2014
Baglio di Pianetto Ficiligno 2014
Caruso & Minini Grecanico 2014
Donnafugata Prio 2014
Fazio Aegades Grillo 2014
Feudo Maccari 2014
Girolamo Russo Nerina Etna Bianco 2014
Masseria del Feudo Grillo 2014
Occhipinti SP68 Bianco 2014
Planeta Cometa Fiano 2014
Rallo Beleda 2014
Rapitalà Vigna Casalj 2014
Tasca d’Almerita Cavallo delle Fate 2014
Terre di Giurfo Suliccenti 2014
Valle dell’Acate Zagra 2014
Zisola Azisa 2014
Sicilia en Primeur 2015 – List of participating wineries:
AL – CANTARA
AZ. AGRICOLA GREGORIO DE GREGORIO
AZIENDA AGRICOLA TORNATORE
BAGLIO DEL CRISTO DI CAMPOBELLO
BAGLIO DI PIANETTO
BARONE BENEVENTANO DEL BOSCO
BARONE DI VILLAGRANDE
CARUSO & MININI
DUCA DI SALAPARUTA – CORVO – FLORIO
FAZIO CASA VINICOLA IN ERICE
FEUDI DEL PISCIOTTO
FEUDO PRINCIPI DI BUTERA
MARCHESI DI SAN GIULIANO
MASSERIA DEL FEUDO
PRINCIPE DI CORLEONE – POLLARA
TENUTA DI CASTELLARO
TENUTA DI FESSINA
TERRE DI GIURFO
Also integral to the event we visited the production territories and visited 10-13 wineries, depending on which tour you were assigned. See Wines of Sicily Part 2 – The Tour