The Wine Cellar
From $1 Buy Access Now!
Info about Italian Wine Guide
Regions: 20 Zones: 172 Types of wine: 1283 Words in dictionary: 145
Wine for Sausages?

We've found 129 wine(s) in our Italian Wine Guide which are good for Sausages.

Read more
Region: Sicilia

Marsala DOC

Originally, the fortified wine Marsala was created for the English market by John Woodhouse of Liverpool, together with his companions Ingham and Whitaker in 1773. They were looking for a replacement for the English's beloved sherry, and thus started to buy up the local, more or less dry, oxidized, alcohol-rich, non-fortified wines, and then add alcohol. Thus Marsala was born, even though you can still find bottles of the original type on the market.

Woodhouse, Ingham and Whitakers names can still be seen on the labels, even though the market for this type has been dominated by the large Marsala winery, Vicenzo Florio since the 1880s.

The story goes that sea hero, Lord Nelson, used Marsala for his troops in the Mediterranean navy, and that the Italian national hero, Garibaldi, praised Marsala when he landed on Sicily and began his efforts to unite Italy.

As is the case with several names on Sicily, the name, Marsala, is derived from the Arabic Marsah-el-Allah, which means something like "God's harbor", and the old harbor city in the zone bares the same name, Marsala.

The wine, that can be traced back to Roman antiquity, has for many years been almost a joke among wine producers, because all possible, and impossible, ingredients were blended into this otherwise excellent dessert wine. It has been blended with both egg, cream, coffee and syrup, but the newer, more elegant versions, Vergine and Superiore, have fortunately cleaned up this reputation.

Marsala is cultivated in a rather large area in the Trápani province (although not in the communes Pantelleria, Favignana and Alcamo), on the west coast of Sicily. Most of the wine spans color wise from dark-golden to light amber, and is available in a large number of varieties. The most well-known are Marsala Fine, Superiore, Superiore Riserva, Vergine/Soleras and Vergine/Soleras Stravecchio or Riserva.

The grape varieties are primarily green and include, among others, Catarratto and/or Catarratto Bianco Commune and/or Catarratto Lucido and/or Pignatello and/or Calabrese and/or Nerello Mascalese and/or Damaschino and/or Inzolia and/or Nero d’Avola. In addition, ethyl alcohol is added from the wine production, together with must, to give a residual sweetness.

If the producer wants the wine to have a more ruby-golden color, the DOC's rather complicated production regulations allow for the addition of the red grapes, Perricone, Calabrese and Nerello Mascalese. In this case, the wine will have the name Rubino on the label.

Marsala is markedly oxidative, with hints of hazelnut and dried porcini mushrooms, and in the most refined versions Vergine/Soleras, isn't counted as a decidedly dessert wine.

The oxidation comes from the mandatory barrel aging, where the barrel isn't filled up completely.

As mentioned, the actual production is concentrated around the harbor city Marsala, and vinification varies among the producers. Most often, the base wine is blended with siphon (sweet wine and wine alcohol) and/or cotto (cooked down must), and most aging is done in locally-produced oak barrels.

As you've probably already noticed, the Marsala world is a rather complex one, and to add insult to injury, the wine appears in countless numbers of special names and varieties, which unfortunately confuse more than they benefit. We have therefore chosen to name the most common.

Marsala's classifications (Fine, Superiore, Vergine, etc.) refer to the individual wine's aging process.

Read more about the wines from Marsala DOC by clicking i the top menu in the right side.

Did you know?

Italy extends over 10 latitudes – from continental climate to subtropical climate?