Island Style: 10 Top-Rated White Wines from Sicily and Sardinia

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The island wines of Sicily and Sardinia have a crispness that is perfect for summer. They are often made from indigenous varieties like Carricante, Catarratto and Grillo, but there are excellent bottlings with international varieties like Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc as well.

These bright, citrus-forward wines feature rich, Mediterranean herbs and mineral undertones. Flavors can range from light citrus to ripe stone and tropical fruits. Whatever you are looking for, these Italian island wines have plenty to offer.

From Floral to Flinty, The Indigenous White Wine Grapes of Southern Italy

Argiolas 2020 Is Argiolas (Vermentino di Sardegna); $22, 93 points. You’ll find aromas of ripe yellow peach, citrus and honeydew in this delicious, full-bodied white. On the rounded, savory palate, tangy acidity lifts lime, Mediterranean herbs and lemon drop candy before an energized saline finish. LLS–Winebow. Editors’ Choice. —K.O.

Barone di Villagrande 2019 Bianco (Etna); $21, 93 points. Crisp, dry and savory, this fantastic white grown on the slopes of the tallest volcano in the Mediterranean hits all the right buttons. It opens with delicate scents recalling pressed Spanish broom, graphite, wild herbs and stone fruit. Taking up where the nose left off, the linear, elegant palate features ripe yellow pear, wild fennel, lemon drop candy and saline set against bright acidity that gives it a juicy, tangy finish. Drink now, or hold until 2025 for even more complexity. Omniwines Distribution. —K.O.

Jankara 2019 Superiore (Vermentino di Gallura); $25, 93 points. Aromas of white stone fruit, Mediterranean scrub, hazelnut and flint are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this impressive white. Showing the serious side of Vermentino and the superiority of the Gallura growing zone, it’s full-bodied, fresh and weightless. It delivers ripe apricot, pineapple, citrus and notes of honeyed almond before an almost salty close. Empson USA Ltd. Editors’ Choice. —K.O.

Surrau 2020 Branu (Vermentino di Gallura); $20, 93 points. This savory, enticing white will transport you to the seaside thanks to aromas that recall Mediterranean brush, white spring wildflowers, a sea breeze and a warm, sandy beach. On the delicious palate, tangy acidity accompanies ripe white peach, lemon drop candy and saline. Dalla Terra Winery Direct. Editors’ Choice. —K.O.

Capichera 2018 VT Vermentino (Isola dei Nuraghi); $69, 92 points. Aromas suggesting French oak, sea breeze and citrus zest shape the subtle nose. Full-bodied and enveloping, the rounded palate features lemon drop candy, ripe apricot and hazelnut alongside a dollop of vanilla and fresh acidity. It closes on a saline note. Vias Imports. —K.O.

Carranco 2019 Villa dei Baroni Bianco (Etna); $50, 92 points. Delicate scents of white spring flowers, citrus and white stone fruit shape the alluring nose. On the tangy, delicious palate, savory saline and vibrant acidity accompany ripe pear, yellow apple, grapefruit and lemon drop candy. Ethica Wines. —K.O.

Girolamo Russo 2019 San Lorenzo Bianco (Etna); $70, 92 points. Tangy and elegant, this poised white has aromas of toasted nuts, Spanish broom and a whiff of wild herbs. Racy and linear, the focused palate delivers yellow apple, Meyer lemon and white pepper while saline mineral notes add to the tension. Drink through 2024. Oliver McCrum Wines. —K.O.

Theresa Eccher 2018 Alizée Bianco (Etna); $27, 92 points. Citrus, smoke and orchard fruit aromas lead the way on this linear blend of 70% Carricante and 30% Catarratto. Dry and racy, the savory palate has tension and finesse, delivering peach, Meyer lemon and flinty mineral alongside energizing acidity. Ready now, it also shows good midterm aging potential. Drink through 2025. Eleven Wine Group. Editors’ Choice. —K.O.

We Recommend:

Firriato 2020 Le Sabbie dell’Etna Bianco (Etna); $25, 90 points. Made with 80% Carricante and 20% Catarratto, this focused white has delicate, enticing aromas of white spring flowers and ripe white stone fruit. Tangy and linear, the savory palate features ripe pear, apple and white grapefruit before a saline mineral finish. Vibrant acidity gives it a crisp finish. Soilair Selection. —K.O.

Pala 2019 Stellato (Vermentino di Sardegna); $34, 90 points. Fermented in steel and left on its lees for three months, this fragrant white opens with aromas of hawthorn, tropical fruit and Mediterranean brush. Round and full-bodied, the tangy palate offers banana, ripe peach and a hint of lemon drop candy. Banville Wine Merchants. —K.O.

Published on August 13, 2021
Topics: Buying Guide