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Digital Subscriptions > Italia! > Jul 2019 > ISLAND WHITE WINES


Welcome to the world of Sicilian and Sardinian white wines – the grapes grown on these sunny Mediterranean islands have distinctive characteristics thanks to their location

Head south to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and you’ll find wines of an entirely different character to those of the north of Italy. You may find some in your local supermarket, and specialist importers will certainly have more listed in their portfolios, so if you’re inclined, there’s a world of island white wine waiting to be enjoyed.

So what makes the white wines of southern Italy (and its islands) different from those of the north? Quite simply, the climate. Both Sicily and Sardinia are much hotter than the mainland, although they benefit from cooling sea breezes coming off the waters that surround them. Grapes ripen faster, generate more honeyed sweetness and retain plenty of flavour. The resulting wines are richly aromatic and fuller-bodied, with tropical fruit flavours and a delicate mineral quality. Grapes for the production of island wines are generally indigenous to the Italian islands themselves, often in small artisan wineries. In both Sicily and Sardinia, producers get together to form cooperatives to make their wines collectively. By selecting the best grapes and pooling expertise, costs are controlled and quality enhanced. As a result, Sardinia has its Vermentino di Gallura DOCG and Sicily its Menfiand Etna DOC – all of which you will see over the page – and more.

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About Italia!

This month we embark on our travels to Verona, the beautiful Veneto city immortalised by Shakespeare in his tale of star-crossed lovers. Whether the story of Juliet’s balcony is fact or fiction matters little, as we travel deeper to the city’s heart and its noble Roman heritage. Traditions of another kind are on our mind in Puglia; this time, the culinary variety. It’s a captivating land with its roots firmly in the soil, as you’ll discover. The restful public gardens of Florence are in the spotlight too, while this month’s Fast Culture tells a tale of mistaken identity or Renaissance ‘spin’ that’s not to be missed.