Pellegrino Passito di Pantelleria (500ML) 2014
Intense notes of candied fruit and citrus fruit with hints of eucalyptus, sage and apricot. Balanced and lingering, with predominant notes of apricots, dried figs and hints of candied fruit and peaches.
"Marsala" production didn't begin until 1773, but grapes have been grown and wines have been made in this little corner of Sicily for thousands of years. In the mid 1700s, when the popularity of fortified wines from Oporto and Jerez grew immensely, British wine merchants explored possibilities of producing a similar product in other regions. The heady wines of dry, windswept Sicily fit the bill perfectly. As in Port production, brandy was added to the barrels and the resulting liqueur, with varying degrees of sweetness, was an immediate sensation.
About 100 years later, Paolo Pellegrino began his Marsala business. Now, Pellegrino---still completely family owned---is the largest producer in the region. They have nearly 1000 acres of vineyards and produce a full range of DOC Marsala.
Because of the natural climate of western Sicily---low levels of rainfall, hot temperatures and dry winds---treatments in the vineyards are rarely needed. All the grapes vines grown in the area can truly be called "eco-friendly." And these grapes are not seen in many other regions---Catarratto, Grillo and Inzolia for the whites; Pignatello and Nero'Avola for the reds.
In Italy, Dry Marsala is enjoyed as the aperitivo and Sweet Marsala after dessert.
A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.
Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on this sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white Sicilian wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.
Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieties or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected Sicilian wines of the island.
Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry Sicilian white. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.
There are hundreds of white grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles.