Marco de Bartoli worked for the large Marsala firm Cantine Pellegrino before taking over his mother’s estate in 1980. He is credited with being instrumental in restoring the image of Marsala – both within Italy and more recently internationally – through his dedication to producing a ‘real’ Marsala of highest quality and concentration. He passed away in 2011 and his sons now run the business, which has expanded to include vineyards on the island of Pantelleria.
A wine of sun and wind. It combines both important parts of the De Bartoli’s estate: Grillo from Marsala and Zibibbo from Pantelleria. The Grillo offers structure, flesh and texture while Zibibbo gives the aromatics that only one of the Muscat family can. This makes for some lovely drinking young, but I suspect it will improve with a few years in the bottle, adding a savoury and earthy element. Best matched with seafood and can stand up with some pretty intense flavours.
Grillo – Means ‘cricket’ in Italian and a natural offspring of Catarrato and Zibibbo. . It is a variety that is mostly used for the production of Marsala but is capable of being made into a dry white table wine too. Its ability to withstand high temperatures makes it a natural choice to grown in Sicily and Puglia. Its high glycerin content makes for great texture and the ability to be picked early for a delicate style or late for an opulent expression means it is quite versatile as a grape.
Zibibbo – Muscat of Alexandria is its more commonly used name. An ancient vine, one of the oldest in fact, that is grown all over the world. Useful in production of table grapes and raisins it is also made into wine in: Samos, Greece, Malaga, Spain, Pantelleria, Italy, Beaumes de Venice, France. It gets high sugar and acid which makes it a wonderful grape for sweet wines.
Sicily – In a constant tussle with Puglia to win the title of largest volume produced each year, the wines of Sicily are as varied as its history. Delicate whites, full bodied reds and of course Marsala show the variation in climate and abilities of the various regions within the Island.