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What Is Marsala Wine?

Marie Gabrielle

Posted on August 17 2021

Marsala wine is a fortified wine made near the Italian island of Sicily. Grillo, Inzolia, Catarratto, and Damaschino are among the indigenous white grape varieties used to make this wine (although it can also be blended with red grapes). It was fortified with an extracted spirit, typically brandy, as is the standard for all fortified wines.

Considering its reputation as a dry wine, a high-quality wine can be an outstanding sweet wine as well as a semi-dry cooking wine. It's becoming more popular as an appetizer to stimulate the stomach or as a delectable mixed drink to sip after a meal.

Marsala vs. Madeira

If you're searching for the no cellar selection that you can tuck away and leave for, inside the case of classic varieties, a lifetime, Madeira and Marsala are enjoyable to drink and, in the case of Madeira, astonishingly long-lasting. Madeira is the most acceptable alternative wine due to its comparable flavors. If you can't get Madeira, try combining one part brandy with two parts white wine, brown In a saucepan, combine the sugar and a bit of salt.

Taste and flavor profile

Vanilla, brown sugar, stewed apricot, and tamarind are the most popular flavors. The wine is typically slightly chilled, around 55° F, and varies from almost dry to syrupy sweet. If you get the chance to try a high-end dish, you will be able to taste morello cherries, apples, dried fruits, honey, tobacco, walnuts, and licorice, among other flavors.

As previously said, it is defined by its color and age that come in various sweetness degrees. Here is a rundown of what all of this means.

With fewer than 40 grams of sugar every liter, Secco is the drier kind of Marsala.

  • Semi-Seco: The wine has a residual sugar content of 50 to 100 grams per liter, making it a semi-sweet style.
  • Dolce: This is a sweet wine with a sugar content of even more than 100 g / ml. (This isn't a keto wine.)

    When it comes to the importance of color in wine cannot be overstated. Here is a summary of the several shades of this Italian classic and some tasting comments.

    • Amber (Ambra): This amber-colored wine is made with white grapes and has a nut and dried fruit flavor.
    • Ruby (Rubino): Pignatello, Perricone, and Nerello Mascalese are red grapes that give this wine it's wonderful ruby color. It also offers a delicious color and flavor that compliments the red grapes' higher fruit yield.
    • Gold (Oro): With its rich golden color, this wine is produced with white grapes. Vanilla, hazelnuts, and licorice are some of the flavors to expect.

      The final classification of wine is age. Older containers are great for drinking or during a meal, whereas young bottles are virtually exclusively used during cooking.

      • Fine: Aged for at least one year
      • Superiore: Has lasted for at least two years but not much more than three.
      • Superiore Riserva: Aged for 4-6 years 
      • Soleras or Vergine: Aged for 5-7 years
      • Stravecchio: Aged for at least ten years with no added sugar

        Grapes and Wine Regions

        The Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) of the Italian government governs its use of the word "Marsala" to refer to wines (and other goods) manufactured in the territory. However, it's worth mentioning that certain wines labeled as Marsala aren't real (particularly the cheaper ones found at local supermarkets).

        When the remaining amount of sugar reaches the predetermined amounts according to the sweet/dry style intended, the ferment is stopped by adding brandy. Similar to the solera system of blending various vintages of sherry, often goes through a perpetual system where a series of vintage blending takes place.

        Food Pairing

        Fruits and pastries, as well as strongly flavored meals like blue cheese, Parmesan, olives, and nuts, go well with secco and semi-secco wines. Dolce makes for a rich dessert wine that goes wonderfully with just about any chocolate dessert, including tiramisu, truffles, or cake.

        The glass you use to sip wine matters. According to research, the form of a glass influences how wine's mist rises, impacting the taste and scent you get.

        Key Producers, Brands, and Buying Tips

        Marsala is usually available at your local liquor store and can easily be ordered. You can sometimes find it in the liquor section of the grocery store; exceptionally affordable cooking “fine” or “superior” bottles can often be found for $10 to $20.It would last for about a month after opening because it is a fortified wine. Search for Madeira wine if you can't locate it.


        Marsala is encouraged to undergo due to its sweetness, which is ideal in our foods and pleasant drinks. A high-quality Marsala can also be an outstanding sweet wine, despite its fame as a dry and tractor-trailer cooking wine.