Ep 413: Sicily and the Sicilia DOC with Alberto Tasca of Tasca d'Almerita
This is an excellent complement to the Wines of Sicily class (part 1 now on the YouTube Channel!).
The Tasca d’Almerita family got into wine in the 1830s with the purchase of Tenuta Regaleali in the center of Sicily, with a range of altitudes that rise up to nearly 3000 ft/900 m, a variety of exposures, mixed soils, and elevations. The varied terrior and strong diurnals means that so many grapes grow well here – the winery grows 25 red and white varietals and the wines are fresh, fruity and honor the Sicilian tradition.
In the early 2000s, Alberto took over the business side of Tasca d’Almerita. He shook things up and modernized the winery, improving the wines but staying true to tradition. Alberto grew the winery to four other Sicilian winegrowing regions: Tenuta Capofaro on the Aeolian island of Salina; Tenuta Tascante on Mt. Etna; Tenuta Whitaker on the Phoenician island of Mozia; and Tenuta Sallier de La Tour in the DOC Monreale. To say that Alberto understands the ins and outs of Sicily and what it has to give is an understatement.
I found that one of the most altruistic and interesting things about Alberto Tasca d’Almerita, is that he doesn’t only focus on his own business. He helped create SOStain – a sustainability registry for Sicilian viticulture created in 2010 and in concordance with VIVA (sustainability in Italian viticulture) – which allows measurement and certification of sustainability initiatives through rigorous scientific indicators to protect the land for future generations. He is a director of the Consorzio di Tutela Vini Doc Sicilia, which promotes Sicilian wine, its area of production and takes an active role in the winemaking and growing of its members, sharing best practices and trying to improve Sicilian wine. He gives back to the wine community of Sicily.
He joins the show to talk about his own business but mainly as a director of the Sicilia DOC.
In the show we cover:
- Alberto Tasca d’Almerita's family history in Sicily
- The cultural differences and similarities of Sicily and mainland Italy.
- The close connection between Sicilians and Sicilian Americans
- Alberto gives us an overview of the entire terrain of Sicily – its climate, various terrains, and how incredibly diverse this huge island really is.
- We discuss the variety of grapes here, focusing on the indigenous grapes of Sicily like Lucido, Nero d’Avola, Perricone and others
- Alberto tells us about his role in starting the SOStain Sicilia Foundation and about the importance of real sustainability in wine
- We discuss the Sicilia DOC – why it was formed, the goals of the appellation, and why it is so important to the future of Sicilian wine.
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