These islands are home to world-class vintages as unique as the places they come from. British wine export Fiona Beckett takes a tasting tour and picks her top ten favourite wines. Sicily Italy. With a reliably sunny climate and a willingness on the part of winemakers to blend the old with the new, Sicily is, in many ways, the California of the Mediterranean. Its assured handling of top international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and the quality of its star homegrown red grape, Nero d’Avola, make it one of the most exciting wine-producing regions in Italy. Tasca d’Almerita 1999 Rosso del Conte: Watching a shepherd drive his sheep to shelter among the olive trees, the dust catching the rays of the sun and creating a golden aura around them, one witnesses a scene that hasn’t changed for centuries. In fact, there has been a settlement on the Regaleali estate in the heart of Sicily since the Middle Ages. The aristocratic Tasca d’Almerita family has been making wine there since 1830. Its crowne jewels is the velvety-smooth Rosso del Conte. Made from 28 to 48-year-old Nero d’Avola vines, the wine tastes of dark berry fruits - just perfect with lamb or wild game. Also irresistible is Nozze d’Oro (golden wedding anniversary), a slightly nutty blend of Inzolia and Sauvignon Tasca, the estate’s unique white grape. Expect to see more unusual wines from Tasca d’Almerita, since they are currently experimenting with more than 60 grape varieties.