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Old World Charm: Tifosi Vino Bianco with Olives and Citrus #winePW

I am so excited to share with you April's post for #WinePairingWeekend. We are all about ancient winemaking and the countries that have been making wine for thousands of years.  I have chosen to focus on winemaking and wine in Sicily.  Hang on for the ride!

First, let me share with you just a few fun things I learned while researching this topic.  Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.  I probably should have learned that in Geography, but hey.  It is a major crossroads between Europe and Africa.  Sicilians have been making wine since 4000 BC. Isn't that just the most amazing fact? Because of its location, grapes, olives, and citrus have all grown well there and still do.  Sicily has grape varietals that are indigenous to the island.  The red ones are Nero d’Avola, Frappato, and Nerello Mascalese. The white varietals are Grillo, Vino Bianco, Inzolia, and Cataratto.  And of course, the area is famous for its Marsala wine.

The history is fascinating, too.  Sicily was covered in grapevines and legend has it that Dionysis (the Greek God of Wine) brought the fruit to the island. It is also believed that the Phoenicians brought it Sicily. There is archeological evidence that the Sicilians were drinking wine as long ago as 17th century BC.  Yes, BC.  The Greeks brought technique and growing strategies which helped the island gain popularity for its wines. The Romans took over and shared the wine with all of Italy. The Church got involved with winemaking as it is an important part of the mass, so the area flourished.

In the 1880s a pest by the name of phylloxera destroyed over half the vineyards.  At that same time, there was a breach in contracts between France and Sicily and it took over 50 years to recover.  In that time, winemaking had changed greatly and Sicilians needed to relearn their craft.  Today we are benefitting from that recovery!

I was fortunate to get my hands on a Stefano di Blasi Sicilia Zibibbo Catarratto 2018.  It sells for about $10 a bottle which is the price range my husband and I like to stay in for a weeknight wine.  Here are some of our thoughts:  elegant, refreshing, crisp, citrusy, apple and pear with a bit of lime on the finish. It is the inspiration for this dish, as it goes very well with seafood!

Check out all these other writers who are looking at ancient wines this weekend!  Be sure to join us for our Twitter chat!  Join us by following the #WinePW tag on Twitter starting at 8:00 a.m. PT/ 11:00 a.m. ET this Saturday, April 11th. It’s always a fun time!
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be sharing “History on the Table – A Dish from the Hundred Years War Meets Wine from the Land of the Bible: Cassoulet + Tabor Adama Shiraz 2013”
  • Wendy of A Day on the Life on the Farm will be enjoying “Clams Tossed in Herbs and Spaghetti with a Santo Assyrtiko”
  • Terri of Our Good Life is taken with “Old World Charm: Tifosi Vino Bianco with Olives and Citrus”
  • Andrea of The Quirky Cork is sharing “#WinePW and The Ancient Wine Culture of Antioch”
  • David of Cooking Chat is "Tasting and Pairing Ancient World Wines"
  • Pinny of Chinese Food & Wine Pairings is making the case to “Drink Ancient Saperavi and Eat Modern Family Meals from Chinese Takeouts”
  • Linda from My Full Wine Glass discovers “Agiorgitiko: Modern Greek Wine from an Ancient Land”
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator shares an “Ancient Wine for Modern Times: Slovenia's Jarenincan and Calamari with Lemon Caper Sauce”
  • Cindy of Grape Experiences looks at “Aglianico - An Ancient Variety That Ages Well”
  • Susannah of Avvinare will be sipping an “Ancient Wine from Campania- Falerno del Massico”
  • Nicole will be sharing “An Armenian Feast with Friends Paired with Armenian Wines” here on Somm's Table.
Now more about the pairing! This recipe combines the best of Sicily offers: salt, olives, citrus and wine. We really loved it and vowed to make it again. Elegant, fancy but not too fancy. The salad shown was from this post: Green Salad with Lemon and Lemongrass Vinaigrette.

Pasta with Mussels, Orange and Black Olives

Pasta with Mussels, Orange and Black Olives

Yield: 4
Prep time: 5 MCook time: 12 MTotal time: 17 M
A beautiful dish that will take you to Sicily!


  • 1 box whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pkg Aldi frozen mussels, or 1 lb fresh mussels
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c Sicilian white wine
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 4-6 black olives per plate
  • 4 springs of parsley


How to cook Pasta with Mussels, Orange and Black Olives

  1. Remove mussels from freezer to thaw. It isn't necessary to thaw completely. If using fresh mussels, clean mussels with a scrub brush thoroughly.
  2. Cook spaghetti to package directions.
  3. While spaghetti is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet.
  4. Add olive oil.
  5. Add wine, orange juice and tomato.
  6. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add mussels.  Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Shells will begin to pop open. Shells that do not pop open are discarded. If a lot are not opened, give it 1-2 more minutes.
  8. Plate spaghetti, then divide the mussels among the four dishes.  
  9. Top with black olives and parsley.
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Would you like to comment?

  1. I'm sure mussels were the perfect choice for this Sicilian wine. I have tried Nero D'Avola and Grillo and loved them both.

  2. Those are such fantastic Silician flavors. Nice job! Can't wait to track down a bottle and try your recipe. Thanks for joining in, Terri.

  3. I never thought to add citrus to pasta, but your dish looks amazing! I love the $10 price range, too, if you can find a good bottle-this looks like one I should find soon. Thank you!

  4. My spouse loves mussels, and this recipe sounds easy and delicious. Great info on the history of Sicilian winemaking. Thanks!

  5. I love Sicilian wines and mussels are one of my favorite foods, so I'm sure I'd be in heaven with this pairing!

  6. Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what I was searching for. I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info. Thanks
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