|CHICAGO, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — As vegetables spiral to the center of the plate and a Southern fried chicken obsession gets a global twist, red and white wines from Sicily are joining the party as diverse and delicious options to complement emerging food trends. Sommeliers and chefs are adding more Sicilian wines to their menus as an affirmation of the grapes’ approachability and ability to pair with a variety of food and flavors.
Yet, only a small percentage of Americans (9%) enjoy Sicilian wine regularly. “Sicily has a diverse variety of red and white wines that are brighter, fresher and more drinkable than many people realize,” said Antonio Rallo, president of Sicilia DOC, a consortium of 90 wine producers developed to protect, promote and enhance the denomination of origin Sicilia DOC.
The island of Sicily is situated in the middle of the Mediterranean and often is referred to as the original, ancient melting pot as a multi-ethnic crossroad to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year 2013, Joe Campanale, believes that this is exactly what makes Sicilian wines so special.
“Wines emerging from Sicily are a modern representation of the island’s varied and diverse cultural influences, climate and landscape,” said Campanale. “This makes indigenous Sicilian wines, such as Grillo and Nero d’Avola, a natural – yet exotic – companion with the complex layers of traditional Sicilian flavors as well as international foods.”
Campanale adds that Sicily’s most popular white grape, Grillo, offers vibrant fruit quality and bright acidity to lighter, more herbal dishes, and is more unique and flavorful than Pinot Grigio and a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. It’s also often blended with the native Catarratto grape for a true taste of Sicily.
“Sicily’s iconic indigenous red wine grape, Nero d’Avola, brings a range of richness, depth and vibrancy depending on the soil, terrain and style of aging,” said Campanale. Nero d’Avola or a Nero d’Avola blended with another native grape, like Frappato, complements instead of competes with grilled, smoky and spicy flavors with a surprising fruitiness that makes it a sophisticated partner with America’s trending tastes.
Here are some recommended Sicilia DOC pairings from the many diverse regions of Sicily:
Vegetables Step Up – As Americans are looking to shed the carbs and plant-based diets become mainstream, traditional pasta dishes are spiraling into ribbons of zucchini, asparagus and beets as the next generation spaghetti.
Comfort Foods Get Creative – Comfort foods will never go away, but they are moving onto the next phase as dishes like fried chicken and traditional hash are folding in foreign flavors, such as Korean fermented vegetables, Thai sauces and Middle Eastern spices.
Starring….Sausage – Move over, bacon. This year, a new contender is stepping up: sausage. Sausage is synonymous with flavor and versatility, and its range of varieties, such as chorizo, Andouille, pork and chicken, is the base of an endless array of local backyard barbecue fare and international dishes alike.
Up in Smoke – 2016 is all about smoked and charred as proteins, vegetables, fruits and even desserts benefit from the hit of umami you get from smoked food. With simple tools such as wood chips, aluminum foil and a grill, more and more people are hot smoking at home.
Hello, Harissa – Hailed as the next Sriracha, the North African chili pepper paste reflects a convergence of trends, including a craving for more complex heat and the impact of Eastern Mediterranean food influences. Harissa adds depth to cooked vegetables and meats with lively notes of garlic and other Mediterranean seasonings.
Look on the label to discover Sicilia DOC wines at your local wine shop and on restaurant menus. To explore Sicily and Sicilian wines either on your mobile or desktop, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or check out Wines of Sicily and learn about the island’s diverse grapes, meet its passionate wine makers, hear about local tasting events and find delicious wine and food pairings.