Tag Archives: Marsala

Marco de Bartoli – Villa Favorita 2015

Lucido Cataratto 2014
Very aromatic, quite floral. Very intense crunchy focused puckering acids.

Pietranera Zibibbo 2013
Intensely aromatic musky jubes. Very dry but open on the palate. Nice grapefruit notes.

Integer Grillo 2012
Smoke on the water. Very sulphury textural savouriness.

Integer Zibbibo 2012
Really interesting influence on the aromatics. A bit wacky on the back but still had that core of fruit sweetness.

Grappoli del Grillo 2013
Mealy wheaty notes. Quite sharp on the palate.

Bukkuram Sole d’Agosto 2012
Intense raisin, intense freshness, very warm on the palate. Exceptionally young and showing some volatility.

Vecchio Samperi
Oxidative nuts, very dry, not sweet in fact. Wonderfully complex, evolved significantly on the palate.

Josephine De Bartoli

Josephine De Bartoli

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Donnafugata – 10/05/2012

The entry level white wines (Anthilia and Vigna di Gabri) were fresh, light and crisp with good vibrancy, texture and clean fruit.

Lighea 2011 (100% dry moscato d’Alexandria)
Classicly intense moscato nose of roses, musk and turkish delight, but was very clean, fresh and zippy on the palate.

Chiaranda 2008 (50% insolia, 50% chardonnay)
A very ripe tropical pineapple nose showing malolactic and oak characters, and on the palate was very rich, fat, creamy and crunchy, in a Californian style which was style a reflection of Sicily.

Sherazade 2010 (100% nero d’avola)
Notes of red currants, plums and slight spice on the nose, and juicy fresh red fruits and delicate earth notes on the palate with some great mellowness of tannins.

Tancredi 2008
Cabernet sauvignon-led wine which had a very familiar nose of cassis and tobacco, and whilst very oaky wasn’t as tannic as I expected, quite tight and firm without much extension on the palate.

Mille Euna Notte 2007 (90% nero d’avola)
Wonderfully dense earthy black olive, dark cherry, blood plum and violet aromas, and on the palate showed elegance and restraint whilst having concentration and uncluttered structure.

Kabir Moscato di Pantelleria 2010
Very fresh and bright with vibrant fruits, but also was quite complex with some sea salt and nutmeg elements, and reminded me of a good moscato d’asti without the bubbles.

Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria 2009
Wonderful nose of treacle, tea, caramel, Arabic smoke and rose-water, and had wonderfully concentrated oxidative complexity. On the palate it showed the raisined fruit character well, with dried apricots, walnuts and almonds, but still had plenty of freshness to it.

Barrels in the cellars of Donnafugata

Barrels in the cellars of Donnafugata

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“Marsala and coke, good choice!” (Sicily, Italy – Day Three)

When I think of Marsala, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the quote used as the title of this post, from the Australian film Chopper starring Eric Bana. The quote comes from a scene in a nightclub where Chopper’s girlfriend orders a marsala and coke, to which the character Neville Bartos congratulates her on the wise decision. It wasn’t until I learnt what marsala actually was that I realised the cultural significance of this seemingly innocent exchange. Marsala is a wine coming from the town of the same name in the south-western corner of Sicily, made usually from white grape varieties (partly explaining why there are more vineyards planted to white than red on the island), and fortified similar to sherry. The wine was discovered by an Englishmen, much like port and sherry were, and were fortified and sweetened to appeal to the English market and allow them to survive the transportation. Marsala at one point was a very famous wine, and many houses were established in the 19th century, some of them English. As demand and production increased, the quality went down and marsala began to not be taken very seriously, much like other fortified wines. Unlike port and sherry the reaction was not to increase quality, but to introduce new flavours like egg and almond, and it was about this time that in Australia marsala was used in one of two ways. It was either used as a mixer in bars, purely for its alcoholic function, or in cooking. Now it is only really used for the latter, and the market is tiny. There are still dedicated houses that produce reasonable volumes of commercial marsalas with a little premium sometimes aged wines, and there are very small and passionate producers fighting an uphill battle to return the Marsala name to its former glory. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any marsala producers to welcome me, so I got to see the town by the seaside and catch up with an Italian wine blogger and journalist I had met in Vittoria for dinner. I also visited one of the most famous modern Sicilian wine brands, Donnafugata.

Donnafugata winery in Marsala

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