Cantine Florio Marsala, a Sicilian Dessert Wine
The Vino Vino Situation presents: Cantine Florio Marsala, a dessert wine with 200 years of history
For the Italian version of this article, visit Il Los Angeles, the online magazine of the Italian community in LA
Today we’re flying to the Sicilian town of Marsala, in the province of Trapani, Sicily, where Cantine Florio Marsala is made. It’s a really particular wine, and it’s made with a dessert white wine-making process that deserves further explanation.
The company Cantine Florio was born in 1833. Vincenzo Florio, the founder, started the production of Marsala. He also built an incredible wine cellar made of tuff and wood, which you should absolutely visit if you visit the area!
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The Florio family has a history of about 200 years of trade, wine, and shipping. Legend has it that, approximately in 1770, a trader called John Woodhouse fell in love with Marsala wine so much that he put a lot of barrels on his ship. He just added a small volume of wine spirit to maintain the product fresh until reaching the destination. That’s how Cantine Florio Marsala was born as we know it today.
White Marsala, in accordance with the DOC certification requirements, is made from grapes called Grillo, Catarratto, Insolia, and Damaschino. All four are locally-grown grapes of Sicily. There are different types of Marsala depending on the grapes, the color, the ageing, and wine processing.
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In this case, Marsala Superiore Secco is made with an additional quantity of ethanol, plus a special mixture called “mistella”, and cooked must. “Secco”, i.e. “dry” in Italian, means that the sugar content is less than 40 grams per liter. Usually, Marsala needs a two-year ageing process, but Cantine Florio Marsala is aged for three years in oak.
A sip of this amber-colored Marsala will make you rethink your concept of wine. It has a complex flavour of dried grapes, raisins, and vanilla. Marsala is really alcoholic but still elegant, persistent, and with a bitter end.
Marsala can be a meditation wine, but it’s also good with pastry and cookies, or even blue cheeses. You can also use it for cooking meat dishes!
Enjoy your wine!
Producer: Cantine Florio
Name: Marsala Superiore Secco D.O.C.
Type: White Dessert Wine
Price: About $15
Grapes: Grillo and Catarratto
Working in wineries across Italy, I get to see how much passion goes into each bottle. With the Vino Vino Situation, every week I present a great Italian wine at a reasonable price. My reviews are unsponsored and unsolicited. Salute!