Three legs in the Sicilian flag and three reds in this post.
Italians, they say, love their rules. But it is in the way that George Bernard Shaw loved work: “I love work. I could watch it all day.”  Sicilians produce plenty of wine but only about a fifth of it under DOC regulations, much more of it under the looser Indicazione Geografica Tipica regime, the step above table wine.
If you go
by the DOC label, you’ll miss out on a lot down south, including these reds from Villa Tonino where the Vita Curatolo family operates and indeed has operated since 1875. They grow the red grapes for the wines below in IGT area of Salemi (the inland Marsala area, towards the west coast, southwest of Palermo)
Baglio Curatolo, Sicily, Syrah, 2007, 13%, ***
Baglio Curatolo are their Premier wines and I started my latest encounter with Sicilian reds by sampling their Syrah 2007 which has an ABV of 13%. Tried this out with Venison Stew (red wine and tomato sauce). It proved an excellent match and also went well with the Durrus Cheese that followed.
Colour is a deep red. There are red fruits on the nose with hints of spice. It is a fleshy wine, well balanced with a long fruity finish.
Baglio Curatolo, Sicily, Nero D’Avola, 2007, 13.5%, ****
Next on the agenda was Tonino’s Baglio Nero D’Avola. This heat loving grape, which grows best, almost exclusively, in the island, is sometimes said to be a cousin of the Syrah but the relationship is fuzzy and may well be just a good yarn.
It is ruby red in colour with a promising nose full of fruit, mainly plum as far as I was concerned. On the palate, it is lively, fruity, juicy, well balanced with sufficient tannins with a persistent and attractive finish. Really liked this one.
Villa Tonino, Sicily, Nero D’Avola, 2008, 13%, ***
Number three in this island line-up was also a Nero D’Avola, a 2008 IGT. Again the colour was ruby and the nose fruity with plum dominant. In the mouth, it was smooth, the fruit well balanced by soft tannins and there was a decent long finish. Overall, not quite as good as the Baglio but a decent drink nonetheless.
Villa Tonino, well known for their Marsala, also do white wines from the Inzolia and Grillo grapes. The wines are distributed in Ireland by Liberty Wines and are widely available.