Sicily has received tons of attention recently, thanks to the presence of numerous marketing-savvy estates, several unique grape varieties, and a host of Sicilian wines crammed with ripe fruit, spices, and herbs. Cool-climate areas near the city of Catania, in the northeastern part of the island (where Etna is located) yield mineral- and citrus-infused white Sicilian wines that age surprisingly well, as well as fresh red wines of real personality. The rest of the island excels at hearty Sicily red wines priced for all budgets. And there's Marsala, a wine normally made in an oxidized style reminiscent of dry sherry, with some versions being extremely sweet. The smaller Sicilian islands of Pantelleria and the Lipari are home to some of Italy's best sweet wines--the Moscato and Passito of Pantelleria and the Malvasia delle Lipari.
Sicily also offers some interesting whites made from the Inzolia and Cataratto varieties (the former more floral, the latter frequently resembling warm-climate Chardonnay), but the best variety is Grillo, which can pack lots of alcohol and structure into a wine with a decidedly herbal, somewhat Sauvignon-like aroma. Chardonnay and Viognier have been planted in Sicily, but the former variety often yields blowzy caricatures with little grace. Viognier appears to hold promise but the vines are too young for growers to make a definitive judgment on the future of this variety here.