Behind the label: Pieno Sud

Behind the label: Pieno Sud

Sicily features prominently on our list of new arrivals. Among our favoured wines from the largest island in the Mediterranean are a trio from Pieno Sud. The range of grapes and styles underlines why many people point to the distinctive Sicilian characteristics as being similar to those of a small country.

The focus of the Pieno Sud team – including Gaetane Carron (pictured) – is on keeping things local. One of the key stages in the winemaking process is to time the harvest in order to produce wine of the highest quality, maximising acidity in the fruit to deliver balance and freshness in the final product. The best way to achieve that is to use grape varieties which can thrive in the local conditions.

Sicilian wine has a rich and colourful history stretching back around 4,000 years. It has been through several iterations since then, influenced by Greeks and Arabs and a temporary boost in demand after phylloxera ravaged vines in France at the end of the 19th century before the disease also reached Sicily.

However, a catalyst for growth in demand has been the change in drinkers’ tastes over the past 50 years. There has been a move away from full-bodied Italian wines to a fruitier style, often using native grapes.

The result is a range of excellent wines which are a tribute to strong Mediterranean flavours and Sicilian winemaking skills. Pieno Sud offers red, white and rosé, and there’s a lot to like about all of them. Our suggestions fall into the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) category, the third of the four categories in the Italian grading system.

Sicily has three main red grapes – Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese – and the first two are blended to make the Rosso Terre Siciliane IGT 2019, a well-balanced, fruity red that’s a good example of the local product.

Rosato Puglia IGT 2019 is a refreshing rosé made with 100% Negroamaro grapes. Red fruits and orange blossom come to the fore and there’s a slightly savoury finish, with a notable hint of spice.

Bianco Terre Siciliane IGT 2019 is a white that showcases the lesser-known Sicilian grape varieties, Grecanico and Inzolia, with an overriding taste of pear and red apple fruit before a zingy lemon finish.

We have been impressed by these wines. All are well priced and they’re great easy drinking for the summer.