Marsala wine

Marsala wine

Marsala is a wine produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily. Marsala wine first received Denominazione di origine controllata, or DOC, status in 1969.cite web
last = Scagliarini
first = Loris
coauthors =
title = Marsala Wine Characteristics
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = WineCountry.IT
date =
url = http://www.winecountry.it/phpfunctions/winepopup_revised.php?WineId=353
accessdate = 2007-12-24
]

While the city's natives sometimes drink "vintage" Marsala, the wine produced for export is universally a fortified wine similar to port. Marsala wine was originally fortified with ethanol, or alcohol, to ensure that it would last long ocean voyages, but it is made that way now due to its popularity in foreign markets.

History

The most creditable version of the introduction of Marsala fortified wine to a wider audience is attributed to the English trader John Woodhouse. The name came from the Greek warlord Marsala who believed his men fought with more flair by drinking a little before battle.In 1773, Woodhouse landed at the port of Marsala and "discovered" the local wine produced in the region, which was aged in wooden casks and tasted similar to Spanish and Portuguese fortified wines then-popular in England. Fortified Marsala wine was, and is, made using a process called "in perpetuum", which is similar to the "solera" system used to produce Sherry in Jerez, Spain.cite web
last = Biancalana
first = Antonello
coauthors =
title = Wine Producers: Florio
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = DiWineTaste
date = 2007-06
url = http://www.diwinetaste.com/dwt/en2007064.php
accessdate = 2007-12-24
]

Woodhouse recognized that the "in perpetuum" process raised the alcohol level and alcoholic taste of this wine while also preserving these characteristics during long distance sea travel. Woodhouse further believed that fortified Marsala wine would be popular in England. Marsala wine indeed proved so successful that Woodhouse returned to Sicily and, in 1796, began the mass production and commercialization of Marsala wine.cite web
last = Bridle
first = James
coauthors =
title = Marsala Ice Cream
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Cooking With Booze website
date =
url = http://cookingwithbooze.org/fortified-wine/marsala-ice-cream/
accessdate = 2007-12-04
]

:"In 1833, the entrepreneur Vincenzo Florio, a Calabrese by birth and Palermitano by adoption, bought up great swathes of land between the two largest established Marsala producers and set to making his own vintage with even more exclusive range of grape".cite web
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = Marsala
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = SicilyWeb
date =
url = http://www.sicilyweb.com/english/trapani/marsala.htm
accessdate = 2007-12-04
]

Florio purchased Woodhouse's firm, among others, in the late 19th century and consolidated the Marsala wine industry. Florio and Pellegrino remain the leading producers of Marsala wine today.cite web
last = Thomson
first = Patricia
coauthors =
title = Sicilian Wine Reborn: A New Breed of Winemakers Is Shaking Up Sicily
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Tastes OF Italia Magazine (via La Dolce Vita Wine Tours website)
date = 2003-07
url = http://www.dolcetours.com/re_article6.htm
accessdate = 2007-12-24
]

Characteristics and types

Marsala is produced using the Grillo, Inzolia, and Catarratto white grape varietals, among others.cite web | last = Bicais | first = Ben | coauthors = | title = Marsala | work = | pages = | language = | publisher = Calwineries | date = | url = http://www.calwineries.com/learn/wine-production/fortified-wine-production/marsala | accessdate = 2007-12-24 ] Marsala wine was traditionally served as an aperitif between the first and second courses of a meal. Contemporary diners will serve chilled with Parmesan (stravecchio), Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other spicy cheeses, with fruits or pastries, or at room temperature as a dessert wine. Marsala is sometimes discussed with another Sicilian wine, "Passito di Pantelleria" (Pantelleria Island's raisin wine).cite web | last = Italian Trade Commission | first = | coauthors = | title = Enoteca 2006: Mariani Sheds Light on Marsala | work = | pages = | language = | publisher = Italian Trade Commission (New York) | date = 2006-03-16 | url = http://www.italianmade.com/trade/feature.cfm?art_ID=223 | accessdate = 2007-12-24 ]

Different Marsala wines are classified according to their color, sweetness and the duration of their aging. The three levels of sweetness are "secco" (with a maximum 40 grams of residual sugar per liter), "semisecco"' (41-100 g/l) and "sweet" (over 100 g/l). The color and aging classifications are as follows: J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 428-429 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0198609906 ]
*Oro-Golden color
*Ambra-Amber color. The coloring comes from the "mosto cotto" sweetener added to the wine.
*Rubino-Ruby color.

*"Fine" has minimal aging, typically less than a year
*"Superiore" is aged at least two years
*"Superiore Riserva" is aged at least four years
*"Vergine e/o Soleras" is aged at least five years
*"Vergine e/o Soleras Stravecchio e Vergine e/o Soleras Riserva" is aged at least ten years

In cooking

Marsala wine is frequently used in cooking, and is especially prevalent in Italian restaurants in the United States. A typical Marsala sauce, for example, involves reducing the wine almost to a syrup with onions or shallots, then adding mushrooms and herbs. One of the most popular Marsala recipes is Chicken Marsala, in which flour-coated pounded chicken breast halves are braised in a mixture of Marsala, butter, olive oil, mushrooms, and spices.cite web
last = Rogers
first = Cathy
coauthors =
title = What is Chicken Marsala?
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = wiseGeek.com
date =
url = http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-chicken-marsala.htm
accessdate = 2007-12-04
] Marsala is also used in some risotto recipes, and is used to produce rich Italian desserts such as "zabaglione" and shortcake.cite web
last =
first =
coauthors =
title = Florio Marsala Recipes
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Banfi Vintners
date =
url = http://www.banfivintners.com/florio/florio_recipes.html
accessdate = 2007-12-04
]

References

External links

* [http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,marsala_wine_sauce,FF.html Marsala wine recipes]
* [http://www.regalis.com/sicilian/wine.htm Sicilian wines]
* [http://www.thedolcevita.it More Sicilian wines]


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