marsala wine

Marsala wine: Sicily to taste

What is Marsala? Marsala is a one of the most appreciated and versatile Italian wines. To be served with aperitifs or to be drunk while tasting a dessert, Marsala wine for cooking is ideal for salty foods.

In its history, Marsala wine has been differently interpreted: from its fame in the nineteenth century, the wine entered a decline phase between the ’60s and’ 70s.

After a bad time, it came back to splendor: today Marsala is a fortified wine from Sicily with a protected designation of origin, considered among the best in the world. Let’s find out all its features.

Marsala Wine history

 The international fame of Marsala wine is related to the British merchant John Woodhouse. Forced to stop in the port of the city of Marsala, in 1773, because of a storm that had surprised him at sea, the Englishman stayed for a few days in the city. Here he had the opportunity to taste Perpetuum, the best wine produced in that area.

Stunned by the good taste of this wine, he imagined the success the product would have had in the English social gathering. So Mister Woodhouse shipped a chest to Liverpool, his hometown. In order to better preserve the quality of the wine during the journey, he added to the original mixture some spirit. The wine thus acquired a liqueur taste similar to Port wine, Englishmen already loved.

The wine was such a success in England, that the British, at first, started a flourishing trade of the product and then landed in Sicily. They would like to refine the production techniques and build new plants to export the wine outside the European borders. So it was that the fame of Marsala spread all over the world and the production area became an industrial centre.

Read more: Chauffeured car hire services in Taormina

Production area of Marsala wine

Marsala wine set an important record: it is the first wine in Italy to be awarded PDO status (protected designation of origin) in 1969. The first protection act of this wine is even older and dates to 1931. On this occasion, all modes of production, from the vineyard to bottling, were defined.

What does it mean that Marsala is a PDO wine? This regulation ensures that all the environmental and cultivation conditions to produce this wine must be those genuinely originating in the production area. Only the vineyards which are in the area indicated in the statement of the protected designation of origin of Marsala wine, are considered suitable for production.

But what is the production area of Marsala wine? This wine is produced in the town of Marsala and throughout its district, that is Trapani, except for Favignana island, Pantelleria island and Alcamo. The production area is specified in the same statement. The territory of Marsala gives the wine some natural qualities which could only be added artificially in other parts of the world.

Marsala wine alcohol content

Before talking about Marsala wine alcohol content, you need a clarification. There is not a unique Marsala wine: there are numerous types and it depends on the grapes they used. But also by factors such as the production types and the aging time. These elements affect color, aroma and sweetness.

Marsala wine barrels Sicily

Marsala wine barrels Sicily

The alcohol content is always high. It depends on the production area: the large amount of sunshine in the area, actually, is a key factor to produce wines with high alcohol content. Even the alcohol content of Marsala is regulated by the Statement, which includes 5 varieties:

  • Fine, with an alcohol content more than 17° C and aged for at least one year.
  • Superiore, aged at least 2 years and with 18% abv (alcohol-by-volume ) .
  • Superiore Riserva, the same characteristics as Marsala Superiore, but aging is 4 years.
  • Vergine or Soleras with an alcohol content not less than 18 ° C and aged for at least 5 years.
  • Riserva the same characteristics as Marsala Vergine but the minimum aging is 10 years.

Apart from the alcohol content, the flavor of Marsala depends on the different sugary content, according to the smaller or greater amount of residual sugars. Dry Marsala wine or sweet Marsala wine varieties depend on that. However, all Marsala wines have typical flavors and scents.

Can you drink Marsala wine? Food and Marsala wine pairing

Marsala wine is traditionally considered a dessert wine, but it can be drunk in different stages of the meal. Moreover, Marsala wine for cooking is very tasty. However, how to taste Marsala wine? The ideal wine glass of Marsala should be small, to help to taste small quantities of product.

When to drink Marsala wine? Sweeter Marsala could be imbibed as a dessert wine, together with dark chocolate or chocolate desserts. Drier versions are traditionally served along with spicy cheese, as Gorgonzola, or red meat. Marsala wine for cooking, indeed, is the ideal for meat dishes or sweet creams.

Marsala wine tour: experience Marsala wine brands in Sicily

I intrigued you and you cannot wait to discover Marsala wine area to taste this high quality wine, can you? The area of Trapani town, Marsala wine production district, is an area to explore. It is perfect for you, if you want to visit an uncontaminated territory.

Choose the comfort and let you drive to discover this area: hiring a luxury car with a private driver is the perfect solution for you to admire the beauty of this land, avoiding driving stress.

Mozia, a salt-extraction place between Trapani and Marsala

Salt-extraction in this area – whose existence is possible due to the presence of elements such as sea water, wind, sun and low rainfall – dates to 3000 years ago. The Phoenicians made salt trading a fundamental element of their economy: white gold was indispensable both for food and for the preservation of fish, meat and tanning of animal skins.

Mozia salt flats tour

Mozia salt flats tour

Mozia salt flats, on the coast connecting Trapani to Marsala, are very famous. Sunset is the perfect time to visit them and to enjoy an unparalleled view. Here you can see Ettore and Infersa Salt pans, which are still active in salt production. There is also the Mill of Infersa, with its internal tour and the salt shop. Check out the official web site to discover entrance fees and other information about Mozia.

Ancient Greek temples in Sicily: Segesta and Selinunte

If you are a history geek, you cannot miss a tour to the archaeological sites of Segesta and Selinunte. Segesta is in a hilly area; the Elemi, a Greek population laid its foundations and the town was, from its origins, a rival of the nearby town of Selinunte.

Segesta houses one of the best preserved ancient Greek temples in Sicily and all over the world: a Doric temple with 36 columns that have been preserved almost intact! In addition to the temple, Segesta site also houses an ancient theater. Here tragedies and comedies often take place today, especially in the summer.

Segesta Temple

Ancient greek temple in Segesta Sicily

Selinunte is an archaeological park, including 40 acres of open-air area. Among the ruins, the remains of 8 temples of the original city are still there. Do not miss: a visit to the ancient necropolis and small shops.

Erice, Sicily

If you are indeed a lover of “recent” history, you cannot miss to visit Erice. As for Erice, to talk about recent history is not completely correct, because it is actually a very ancient city.

Erice is a Medieval village, perched on the town of Trapani. From its streets, you can admire some of the most beautiful views on the city of Trapani. Do not miss the opportunity to take a stroll through its curvy streets, with their medieval arches and decorated courtyards. Furthermore, shops sell local products such as ceramics and carpets.

Trapani Sicily beaches: best beaches of the coast

If you are a sea lover and you don’t get scared by the high temperatures, you cannot miss a dip in the blue water of this Sicilian area. I am talking about the Egadi Islands (Favignana and Levanzo islands), the beach of San Vito lo Capo and the Zingaro Reserve. You are spoiled for choice, because here the sea acquires thousand shades of blue and is always wonderful.

trapani beaches

Trapani beaches

Do you want to try something original and widely-known by tourists? You could enjoy a very original tour among the historical “Bagli” settled on the coast between Trapani and Marsala. They are the typical Sicilian farms of the past, with large inner courtyard, protective walls and entrance door.

In these ancient farms, people devoted their life to wine and oil production. On the high floor, the owners lived. On the ground floor, there were the peasants and the storages for food stocks and work tools.

Sicily and Marsala wine to discover

Do you want to discover then the marvels of these places? Are you ready to discover Marsala wine and its land? Plan your trip and book your luxury car with private driver. It is the ideal solution to enjoy this place to taste with all your senses.


Alessia Baldassarre

Freelance copywriter. A true passion for journalism, online communication and Social media, I specialize in Seo Copywriting in Italian and English language. Curious about life, I spend hours observing its facets, trying to explain its rules.

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