April Showers, May Flowers in Sicily

For several years now, Sicily has been bathed in winter rains. “We’re happy with climate change,” says winemaker Guiseppe Melia, cofounder of Ceuso. “Rain in winter, wind in summer, hot in summer: it’s perfect for red wines—like the past few years.”

Right now, Sicily is doing wonderful impersonation of Botticelli’s Primavera, with multicolored flowers freckling its fields, ancient temples, and olive groves. There’s Queen Anne’s lace, red clover, purple thistle, orange buttercups, fragrant yellow broom, intoxicating white jasmine, honeysuckle, and yellow flowering fennel.

“We feel blessed,” says Chiara Planeta, of the Planeta winery. “Since 2000, we’ve had mild winters, so now there’s lots of water. Lake Arancio is higher than ever.”

That’s good news for wine drinkers. One winemaker after another sang the praises of the past four to five vintages during our DISCOVER SICILY tour, and we tasted some superb wines this week.

By popular vote, our group’s favorite were:

• Cerasuolo di Vittorio 2008, Planeta • Ceuso 2005 (Nero d’Avola/Cabernet/Merlot 50/30/20) , Ceuso • Contempo Nero d’Avola 2008, Abbazia Santa Anatasia • Nero d’Avola 2008, Fondo Antico • Kaid 2007 (Syrah), Alessandro di Camporeale • Vecchio Samperi, De Bartoli

Check out our DISCOVER SICILY tour itinerary.