Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and the largest of the 20 regions of Italy. Even though the island makes more white than red wine, its only DOCG wine region – for the moment – is a red. It’s called Cerasuolo di Vittoria. The word “Cerasuolo” derives from cherry, and Vittoria is the central town of the region.

A special red grape called Frappato originates here. Frappato does well in sandy soil and ripens late in the year and gives wines with a pale color and delicate fruit.

In the past, this grape wasn’t considered powerful enough and was traditionally blended with Nero d’Avola a grape that is grown a bit all over Sicily. Nero d’Avola prefers red soils and ripens earlier (so it is usually planted in places where Frappato cannot ripen well) and gives a stronger color and a deeper texture with its higher alcohol, good acidity and tannin. Flavors of dark plum and dark red cherry.

In the appellation Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG the two grapes must be combined.

The ideal is a 50-50 ratio so Nero d’Avola doesn’t overpower the character of the Frappato.

The Classico area corresponds to the original area of production in the centre of the appellation, which goes back to the DOC boundaries established in 1973.

In 2005 the area was bumped up to DOCG and the zone expanded with a sort of outer ring that cannot use the Classico designation so merely be labelled as Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

French winemaker, Pierre Gouttenoire, takes you to discover one of the grapes that he loves the most.

I'm sure you have already heard about Beaujolais, and maybe your first thought is that it is crap! Maybe because of a hangover in November after the third Thursday of the month, the day of the world release of the Beaujolais nouveau!

But Beaujolais is way more than this bad memory, it's a fantastic wine region south of Burgundy, growing a local and ancestral grape, Gamay!

Two main terroirs in this Appellation (AOC since 1946): In the south clay and marl producing light fruity reds mainly dedicated to Beaujolais nouveau, and then the northern part (north of the Nizerand river) you will find fantastic soils of granite and schists where Gamay will fully express its beauty and elegancy.

Ten Cru AOC were strictly delimitated like in Burgundy regarding their special and unique typicity using Gamay.

Saint-Amour AOC is the northernmost Cru AOC of Beaujolais. Gamay grapes are harvested by hand on the coteaux of Monts Beaujolais, giving powerful and racy reds able to age very well over the years, like a Pinot noir (we French say that Gamay "pinote" - becomes like pinot).

You could also try another cru like Moulin-à-Vent (the most powerful) or a Morgon AOC, or a Chenas AOC (smallest Cru).

You will change your mind completely about Beaujolais, trust me.

Vermentino and Pigato from Liguria compared by Rebecca Gouttenoire, Italian Wine Scholar.

The region of Liguria in northwestern Italy is a long strip of coastland shaped like a bridge between Tuscany and Provence.

Vermentino is the most widely-grown single grape variety. The second most grown grape variety in Liguria is Pigato. Studies of their DNA have shown Vermentino and Pigato are identical. Yet, they behave differently so most winemakers swear they are different varieties. When grapevines are genetically identical but look different, behave differently and give distinctively different wines, we call them biotypes.