Getting to visit the Grillo vineyards on the island of Mozia–a short and extremely charming boat ride off the western coast of Sicily–is a rare treat. The first thing you see as you push off the coast in a modest, leisurely-driven boat are these enormous piles of salt baking in the sun. (The tiles are there in case it rains. I would not want that job. Though if you paid me in Sicilian sea salt…)
Not only are there Grillo vineyards on Mozia, but the island is also an impressive archaeological site and home to a fascinating museum detailing the island’s history from its time as a Phonecian colony. It’s a wonderful place to step out of the sun and heat for a bit and soak in the history of Mozia, much of it excavated under the auspices of an Englishman who purchased and resided on the island, Joseph Whitaker. He also planted grapes (smart guy), and this is where the winery Tasca d’Almarita comes into play. They are entrusted with reviving and nurturing the vineyards on Mozia and producing wine from the Grillo grapes. And it’s no easy task; it has to be backbreaking work to tend to or pick fruit from these low-to-the-ground bush vines. (They are probably trying to stay as far away from the sun as they can, too.)
So what does this Grillo from Mozia taste like? Well, our group actually had to wait quite a bit. Enjoying a glass of Grillo in the shade after walking around on the island was certainly in the forefront of our minds. (Maybe even a leisurely glass on the boat ride back. Or both.)
Upon returning to our evening accommodations, we got our chance. Grillo is one of those delightfully dry and refreshing white wines that is such a pleasure to drink alongside seafood, like fried sardines and anchovies. And Mozia is one of those places where so many distinct images were ingrained in my head from our idyllic boat ride–salt, windmills, water, sun–that drinking the wine was truly transportive.
Full disclosure: My visit to Mozia was part of a trip sponsored by Winebow.Tags: grillo, joseph whitaker, mozia, sicily, tasca d'almerita