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Digital Subscriptions > Italia! > Sep-18 > RED WINES OF THE ISLANDS


Italy’s two largest islands produce sumptuous red wines of great quality and international renown, with prices to suit any budget. Our experts have chosen six examples to try


Sardinia and Sicily have a proud and long-lived history of wine production, dating from colonization by the Greeks, whose presence dominated the islands from around 800 to 300BC. They brought vines with them to grow the grapes that they would turn into wine. Today, Sicily has the largest area of vineyards per capita of any region in Italy. Wine is big business here, especially robust reds and Marsala, the dessert wine. On Sardinia, growing conditions favour both red and white wines (but we will look at the whites another time…).

There is a distinct difference between the red wines of Sicily and Sardinia though. And it’s not just down to the grape varieties that are grown on the respective islands. Sicily has a turbulent volcanic history and the grape varieties that thrive enjoy the volcanic soils, like Nero d’Avola for instance. Sardinia, on the other hand, has largely dry soils which the Cannonau and Carignano vines take to particularly well. Sicily is also (typically) hotter, especially during the summer months when the grape are ripening, so the concentrations of sugars are higher. This month, we’re sampling red wines from both islands. Turn the page to see how they compare.

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About Italia!

The Dolomites are a popular summer retreat for many Italians. We’ll show you how walking takes precedence over the winter activities we usually associate with this beautiful region. We also visit the secret green spaces of Italy’s cities, perfect oases if you are taking a summer city break. And we visit Matera, a city once known as ‘the shame of Italy’ but now set to become the European Capital of Culture.