Why Menfi, Italy, should be your next favorite wine destination
Sicily is a sweet spot that deserves to be on every foodie and wine lover's bucket list.
By: Select Sicily
If you love wine-tasting, beautiful beaches and sublime yet simple regional food, south-western Sicily will let you indulge in both the bounty of verdant vineyards and the laid-back glamour of shimmering coastlines.
The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has a long history of viticulture and an honorable wine tradition dating from ancient times. At the foot of the sunny Italian peninsula, Sicily has produced wines for thousands of years, grows more wine grapes than any other region of Italy and is home to a wide array of wine routes, with luscious vineyards that lie close to the crystal azure Mediterranean Sea.
Menfi: Italy's emerging wine destination
Located about 50 miles southwest of Palermo, Menfi, in the province of Agrigento, is one the most historic wine towns in southern Italy, carpeted with rolling vine-covered hills overlooking the still relatively undiscovered sand dunes and stunning beaches of the nearby coast. It is steadily becoming a go-to destination for those who love vineyard-hopping and the beach, as pointed out by Forbes.
Wine-making is Menfi's raison d'être. Renowned for its whites, the area around Menfi became a DOC region in 1995 and now produces seventeen different wines, including Menfi Vendemmia Tardivo, Menfi Nero d'Avola, an indigenous variety, and Menfi Chardonnay, which helped to launch Sicily's wine renaissance. Sicilian high-end wines have improved beyond recognition in recent years.
One of Sicily's biggest and most prestigious wine producer is the wine-making Planeta family, which has a 500-year history of working the vines and two wineries in Menfi, called Dispensa and Ulmo. This seductive south-western corner of the island is a magical place to make wine, as the vineyards tumbling down to the sapphire sea are blessed with warm sunlight tempered by cooling sea breezes.
Gaze at the Mediterranean while sipping on some local wine and enjoy these simple, genuine pleasures far from the camera-clicking crowds. The locals will welcome you with warmth. Every year in June, Menfi's viticultural and culinary traditions are celebrated at the Inycon Festival.
Sicilian cuisine is rich with dishes that make the most of the bounty of the Mediterranean, including olive oil, sheep's cheeses, handmade pasta, luscious local vegetables and fruits, and the catch of the day harvested from coastal waters.
Known for its laid-back vibes, Menfi's coastline offers beach-lovers and relaxation-seekers a slice of paradise with miles and miles of stunning sandy beaches, most of which are practically deserted even in the high summer months. Menfi's gentle rolling hills carpeted with luscious vineyards and olive groves descend right down to the crystal azure sea, where there is a seemingly endless array of breathtaking beaches, with very fine, golden sand.
An unspoilt expanse of sand dunes and limpid waters runs for some 10 miles along the coast below the ancient town of Menfi, from San Marco in the east to Porto Palo in the west. For over 20 consecutive years Menfi's peaceful azure beaches have been awarded Blue Flags.
The ancient wine-making town of Menfi is the perfect base to explore Sicily's southwest corner.
A short drive west is the stunning Acropolis of Selinunte, one of the most important ancient Greek sites in sun-drenched Sicily. To the east is the historic port town of Sciacca (pronounced "shacka"), known since antiquity for its spas, where the evening passeggiata takes place along the dramatic seafront.
Head a few miles northwest and you will arrive at the pretty seaside town of Mazara del Vallo, the ancient citadel of Erice and the charming towns of Trapani and Marsala, home of the world-famous, richly colored fortified dessert wine.
Must-stops are also the archaeological area of Heraclea Minoa and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, which is actually not a valley but a hill, on which Greek temples were built around 500 BC. Despite all these cultural riches, the wine-making centre of Menfi has succeeded in preserving its fascinating off-the-beaten-
Enjoy laid-back luxury
Select Sicily is a luxury real estate agency dedicated to providing unique and exclusive self-catering accommodation in sun-kissed Sicily. Here you will find a selection of luxury villas.
Located in Menfi-Porto Palo, Le Cicale is a luxury retreat overlooking the vineyards of world-renowned producer Planeta. It's easy to feel totally Zen while gazing seaward across the luscious vineyards while lounging poolside and sipping exquisite wines at sunset, enjoying the sound of cicadas.
In the same area is I Cipressi, an away-from-it-
Ideal for those who love contemporary design and style, Essence is a luxury 3-bedroom villa in Menfi-Porto Palo, which offers a seductive blend of elegant interiors, stunning views and designer furnishings. Its large picture windows allow you and your guests to admire sublime panoramas and let the outdoors pour in.
On top of a panoramic hill in Menfi-Porto Palo, just five minutes from Menfi's sandy beaches, Villa Bonera is the perfect place to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. Sitting atop a verdant hill in the fisherman city of Sciacca, Casa Alba is a short hop to the beach and perfectly located to enjoy the picturesque villages along the coast and discover Sicily's scenic UNESCO World Heritage sites.
What more could you possibly want? Is there an island that can compete when it comes to good food, fine wines, history and unspoilt beaches? Pack your bags, it's time to sample some exquisite wines!
For more information, please visit www.selectsicilyvillas.com.