• My name is Marilena Barbera
    and I am a winegrower.
    I live and make my wines in Menfi, Sicily.

Catarratto white Sicilian indigenous grape 27608
Pin It

Catarratto [KAH-tahr-RAT-toh] is one of the classic traditional white grape varieties of Sicily, and is considered to be one of the most antique.

Mostly planted in the Western part of the Island, Catarratto represents today about 33% of the Sicilian vineyard, with a significant concentration in the provinces of Agrigento, Trapani and Palermo.
Used as a primary variety in the DOC Sicilia wines, it is also used as the main grape in several local appellations, such as Alcamo, Marsala, Menfi, Santa Margherita di Belìce.

Several ampelographic studies from XVII to XIX Century have identified at least eight phenotypes of Catarratto, two of which show substantial variations: Catarratto Comune and Catarratto Lucido, and have developed during at least 20 centuries by subsequent adaptations to different micro-climates.

Catarratto and Zibibbo are ancestors of Grillo A more recent parentage analysis study (Di Vecchi Staraz, 2008) reveals that Catarratto is most likely the father of Garganega, one of the most ancient white grapes of Northern Italy, and has genetic relations with several others (Mantonico Bianco in Calabria, Susumaniello in Apulia, Malvasia di Candia in Central Italy, Trebbiano in Tuscany, Albana and Mostosa in Romagna, Dorona and Marzemina in Veneto).

Furthermore, it has finally been clarified that Catarratto is the father of Grillo, through its natural crossing with Zibibbo.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF CATARRATTO GRAPES

Catarratto is a vigorous variety, with a good resistance to the most common grape diseases.
Bud break generally occurs at the beginning of April, while the ripening cycle lasts until early or mid September.
Grape bunches are conical, from medium to big, with two side bunches; they may vary in compactness and produce small round berries, with a green-yellow color  >>> check the infographic for visual description.

Old vine Catarratto

old Catarratto vine in Cantine Barbera Belìce di Mare vineyard 

CATARRATTO: TASTING NOTES

The most popular Catarratto wines that you easily find on supermarket's shelves are fresh whites with a medium structure, a mild acidity and a moderate alcohol level. Their aromatic profile is typically associated with citrus fruit and flowers (lemon zest, wild oranges and citrus blossoms), tropical fruit such as grapefruit and passionflower with a touch of fine herbs and sweet spices. A good salinity and a mineral feeling on the finish may occasionally turn into a slightly bitter closure.

Catarratto: profilo aromatico e descrittoriBeyond a market oriented winemaking, a new approach to Catarratto is taking off in recent years. This is actually the traditional Sicilian wimemaking, which had been abandoned for too long: natural producers are now more focused on re-discovering the real taste of Catarratto, and are experimenting with spontaneous fermentations, amphora or cement refining, and skin contact.
Their wines finally show how versatile and unique the variety is.

These are intense wines, sometimes slightly tannic - due to prolonged skin contact; they are enhanced by notes of hazelnuts and peanuts, and definitely show a more complex and interesting aromatic profile.  

I use Catarratto to make my Arèmi Catarratto Superiore: this wine is spontaneously fermented on the skins for about 1 week in standard vintages, but the skin contact can go on for 2 weeks if the season is favorable; it refines on its fine lees for a minimum 12 months, both in neutral oak and in amphoras.
 

SERVING TIPS AND FOOD PAIRING

Enjoy Catarratto in a standard white wine glass, at a cold (not chilled) temperature. Most wines are nice when they are young, but several expressions from the best producers and terroirs can age up to 3-4 years.

Catarratto is a very versatile wine that pairs well with fish and seafood, white meats, grilled vegetables and soft goat cheese. Skin macerated and passito Catarratto wines are suitable to match with matured cheses and with many tasty dishes of the traditional Sicilian cuisine. 
 

WINE SHEETS

Btg Aremi

Arèmi
Catarratto Superiore
Menfi DOC

 

MORE RESOURCES ON CATARRATTO

Catarratto: infografica vitigno e vino Want to know more about Catarratto?
Watch and download the complete infographic by clicking on the picture.
Feel free to use any of the information and pictures included in this article for your studies or presentations, by citing the source.


Want to share this article or the infographic?
Please tag your posts with #SicilianWine, it will be easier for you to follow all interactions on Facebook and Twitter.

  


 

Tags: Menfi DOC, catarratto, #SicilianWine, sicilian grape varieties, Arèmi

My story

My story

We have been winegrowers for three generations: a 100 years long story, a legacy of love and respect
Wine book

Wine book

Always up-to-date with all available wines and vintages: ready for browsing, or for immediate download

Photo album

Photo album

My book of photo shots from my vineyard in Sicily, available in HR for download - please cite the source

Video gallery

Video gallery

My YouTube channel with harvest stories, tastings, travels and meetings with very special people

NEWS FROM THE BLOG

Between a road map and a winery notebook, a personal digital moleskine with notes on winemaking, tastings and events, people I meet, places I see: my everyday life in the wine world.

  • Menfi DOC: Wine and Terroir

    Menfi DOC: Wine and Terroir

    The DOC Menfi Appellation: from history to landscapes, and from climate to grape varieties, everything you need to know about one of the most interesting wine regions of Sicily.

    Read more

  • Zibibbo, a story of Sicilian identity

    Zibibbo, a story of Sicilian identity

    Zibibbo is one of the rarest grapes in the word with a triple attitude: it is a wine grape, a table grape and a raisin grape. Learn about its long history that dates back 5.000 years.

    Read more

  • What wine producers can do for climate change

    What wine producers can do for climate change

    Electricity is a significant expenditure items in a winery’s budget, and it has a great environmental impact. My energy-related choices make my winery 100% sustainable.

    Read more

  • Wild yeast and the miracle of life

    Wild yeast and the miracle of life

    Wild yeast and spontaneous fermentations, key points of the natural wine movement, are linked to Mediterranean traditions that remain a source of inspiration for winegrowers all over the world.

    Read more

This site uses cookies and third-party cookies to provide you with a better experience and service.
When navigating or using our services, you agree to our use of them. You can change your cookie settings at any time.