When it comes to Italian wines, you may first think of big, bold reds. But in fact, the Italians make some delicious sweet wines, too. Marsala is one of them. If you're looking to explore the world of sweet Italian wines, it is a great one to start with, but you'll want to learn a little more about it first.
Where does Marsala wine come from?
Marsala wine is specifically produced in Sicily, which is an island that comprises one of the 20 regions of Italy. Because Sicily is an island, it has a somewhat different environment and climate than mainland Italy, which means the grapes grown there have different characteristics.
Marsala wine is made from several different varieties of grapes, including Grillo and Inzolia grapes. It is a fortified wine, which means that after it is fermented, extra sugar is added. Most Marsala wines are quite high in alcohol, with some being as high as 20% ABV.
What are the characteristics of Marsala wine?
As you would expect from a fortified wine, Marsala wine is quite sweet. It often has caramel and burnt sugar notes. Some may even describe it as nutty. Wine tasters often pick up notes of apricot, vanilla, and brown sugar. You might notice some fruit flavors, like cherry and apple, in Marsala wines that have been aged a bit longer.
Marsala comes in a range of colors. Some are golden in color; these are referred to as Oro Marsalas. Others have an amber tone and are known as Ambra, and red Marsalas are known as Rubino. Generally, the deeper the color of the Marsala wine, the more fruit-forward its flavor.
How is Marsala best enjoyed?
As a sweet wine, Marsala wine is best served with dessert. It's an excellent accompaniment to any dish that contains chocolate, from cake to chocolate-covered strawberries. It also pairs really well with creamy, soft cheeses like Havarti and Brie.
Many people also use Marsala wine for cooking. It adds both complexity and a hint of sweetness to foods. Chicken Marsala is a famous Italian dish made with mushrooms and a little of this sweet wine. Marsala is also incredible when used to deglaze the pan and make a sauce for steak.
Marsala wine is an incredible, sweet Italian wine that you deserve to try. Buy a bottle the next time you visit the wine shop, and enjoy it with dessert or in your favorite dishes. Contact a company that provides Italian sweet wines for more information.