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Solicchiata is a village that belongs to the municipality of Castiglione di Sicilia. This is that lucky corner of the territory – between East Etna and North Etna – where the soil is very rich and generates wonders of food and wine. The name is a bit funny but absolutely suitable, it means “slice of the sun”. And the little sun that nourishes the earth, together with water and the hand of man, is enough to make hectares of vineyards grow here. A tradition that is not very ancient, but not too recent either. The Solicchiata wines are among the best in Sicily, but they should not be confused with the Castello Solicchiata brand. It recalls the name but belongs to a wine producer in the Adrano area, on the west side of the volcano. Castello Solicchiata is a whole different story.

The origins of the Solicchiata wines

The village of Solicchiata exists thanks to the wine. In fact, from the end of the 18th century onwards, the land that once belonged to the church of Castiglione passed into the hands of the aristocracy. The local lords – noblemen from Castiglione, Linguaglossa or Randazzo – exploited the land as vineyards. The increasingly pressing demand for agricultural labour led many people to settle along the road that ran alongside the properties. So the village of Solicchiata was born, and it still stands today on both sides of the State Street 120.

The wines of Castello Solicchiata in Adrano, on the other hand, were the enlightened intuition of Baron Felice Spitaleri of Muglia. After a trip through Europe, in 1855, the noble businessman transformed part of his feudal property into land for the cultivation of vineyards. He had vines of the French Bordeaux type planted there. In particolar, the Cabernet and Merlot varieties. The plants adapted immediately to the new environment and produced the most awarded wines of the century. The wines of Castello Solicchiata are certainly the most famous in the world, as a type of Etna wine. But the small cellars of Castiglione and the village of Solicchiata are also appreciated for their product.

solicchiata and wines 2
getty images from forbes com

Solicchiata, characteristics of the wines

The wines that they still produce today in the village of Solicchiata are based on local indigenous vines (Nerello Mascalese, Catarratto Bianco, Nerello Cappuccio). From them they obtain red wines with a soft, velvety flavour. The alcohol content degrees are 13°, to be served always at cool temperatures (below 20°C). Brilliant straw-yellow white wines are also obtained there, with a fresh taste and alcohol content degrees of 12° . To be served cold.

Castello Solicchiata wine is based on Merlot or Cabernet vines, with more sophisticated flavours and a slightly higher alcohol content (13.5 – 15 degrees). The taste is refined, powerful, fresh on the palate. Taste them cool from the cellar rather than from the fridge. The same property also produces white wines and champagne varieties, the latter among the best in Italy. The first production of a local cognac, called Cognac Etna, is also a bright idea of the Castello Solicchiata brand.

Where to taste good Etna wines

If you are in Castiglione di Sicilia, enjoy the good local wine of Solicchiata in the cellars and pubs that the pretty medieval town offers its tourists. Etna wine is also served in the tourist farmhouses in the area, often associated with the vineyards themselves.

Castello Solicchiata wines are instead produced in a spectacular nineteenth-century castle, but built in a medieval architecture style, located near the city of Adrano. The castle, however, is not always open to the public, so in order to taste its wines it is necessary to participate in special events. You can for the product also in the local wineries and specialized wine shops.

You will also find the good Solicchiata wines at the event-exhibition of wines in Milo (info at: VINIMILO ).

Between one tasting and another, you can still explore the rich territories of these vineyards. Castiglione di Sicilia with its sixteenth-century churches, its castle overlooking the Alcantara valley, the ancient Byzantine temples. Adrano, with its elegant old town gathered around the donjon (tower castle) of lava stone that dominates the main square. Here too the ancient churches are very beautiful, so are the palaces of the aristocracy of the past. Also explore the natural landscapes characterized by the Simeto river and the Ponte dei Saraceni bridge that crosses it, in the homonymous district. (the photo above the title by Grazia Musumeci)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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