Marsala

Wine category: 
DOC (DOP)
Category: 
Special: 
Yes
Type: 
Dessert wine
SubType: 
dessert bianco
Region: 
Sicily
Province: 
Trapani

Marsala DOC is one of Italy's most famous fortified wines. It was already famous in Roman times as "strong wine". Marsala as we know it today finds its origins in XVIII century when an English tradesman, John Woodhouse, was forced to find harbor in Marsala, in Sicily, due to a storm. In one of the town's taverns he was served their best wine, the "perpetuum". Charmed by it taste, and deemed it similar to Port, which much appreciated back home in those times, so he decided to brought home some casks and he added a littleĀ eau de vie to prevent it from spoiling during the journey. This was the birth of Marsala, which after some time, in 1832, became known all over the world thanks to the work of Sicilian entrepreneur Vincenzo Florio.

Today, it is produced all over the province of Trapani, on the island's West Coast, a land of excellent foods and wines, as the many DOP and IGP products show, such as Cappero di Pantelleria, the Nocellara del Belice olive or the peculiar Vastedda del Belice cheese.

Marsala wine was believed for a long time just a wine to be used in cooking, but during the '80s it was reborn as a high quality product, thanks to the effort of many producers, including some of the historic ones, who never stopped believing in this wine.

Marsala is produced in numerous different versions. Depending on the vines used it can be golden or amber in color if the grapes are white, or ruby red with red grapes. It can be dry, semi-dry or sweet, and this last variety is probably the most appreciated. Finally, depending on the aging period which varies from 12 to 120 months, it can be named in several ways, starting from the young "Fine" to the very aged "Vergine Riserva". Scents and flavors are typical of Sicily, a warm and sunny island in the middle of the Mediterranean. It features intense notes of candied fruit, broom flowers, almonds and citrus fruits, sustained by a great structure and a long and warm aromatic persistence.

It is a great wine to go along with local desserts such as cannoli or cassata siciliana. It is exceptional with dried figs and chocolate, and deserves a taste with blue cheese or as a meditation wine.