Catarratto from the heart of Sicily

by Stefania Vinciguerra 08/24/17
2827 |
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Catarratto, dal cuore della Sicilia

This is the most common varietal in central-western Sicily that while having lost some of its appeal is still widely used. Here we have selected some examples that have not been blended. 

In the “prehistoric” era of Italian winemaking, Catarratto was a widely used grape. This because it had a high yield and was highly resistant to disease and parasites. It was one of the key elements in blending Marsala, along with Grillo and Inzolia.

Its popularity over the past decades has diminished in favor of the so-called international or French varieties, like Chardonnay and Sauvignon, which found fertile ground in Sicily. Nevertheless, it can still be found in almost all estates and is used in various ways. Experimentation, even by individual producers, has led to the re-evaluation of this varietal which, thanks to its high acidity level, can age well beyond a year if made well.

There are three varieties of this grape:

  • Catarratto Bianco commune, known also as Catarratto Bianco Nostrale and Catarratto Bertolaro;
  • Catarratto Bianco Lucido, known also as Catarratto Bianco Luasstro and Castellano. This tends to be less alcoholic and more acidic;
  • Catarratto Bianco Extra-Lucido or Lucidissimo, named like this because of its almost total lack of purine and even higher level of acidity.

The grape is included in the blends of several DOC (PDO) appellations:

  • Marsala, from zero to 100%
  • Alcamo, at least 85%
  • Contea Sclafani Bianco (at least 85%
  • Salaparuta, at least 85%
  • Etna, at most 40%
  • DOC Regionale, which includes Sicilia Catarratto in all its versions including late harvest, Passito, superior, reserve and sparkling.

Here are five Catarratto, all 100% with the exception of one that has a little Vermentino blended into it. The wines are classified either Doc or IGT and all have in common a great drinkability. The vintage is 2015 and thus demonstrates how these wines can even age in the bottle a few years.

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