Sipping in Sicily

When it comes to Sicilian wines, Alice Feiring has a predilection for the lesser-known varietals

While Sicilian winemakers have recently taken a shine to trendier Merlots and Cabernets, it's the ancient grapes--those that were first planted 4,000 years ago by the Greeks--that produce some of the finest wines in the region.

These lesser-known delights, such as Ansonica, Catarratto and Grillo (whites) and Nera d'Avola, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese (reds), can produce little-known winners. Reds blend generous sun-drenched fruit and fennel-like earthiness. The most appealing whites are fresh and floral. Because the most fascinating wines in the world reflect the local soil and climate, look here for accents of salty sea air, candied orange peel and silty...

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