Delight Your Senses With A Sip Of Marsala Wine

The famous Marsala wine comes from the Italian province of Trapani, in the island of Sicily. It dates back to the ancient Romans, when the winemaking technique of “concia”, or cooked must, was first documented, and is still used today in Marsala. The wine’s rich history makes for an equally rich taste that recommends Marsala wine for both sipping and cooking, though it is better known nowadays for the fine flavor it brings to many dishes.

Sipping on a glass of Marsala wine, you will discover unique vanilla, tamarind, brown sugar, and stewed apricot flavors, while tobacco nuances can also be tasted in bolder wines. Aside from using only Sicilian grapes, both red and white, Marsala wine contains a grape must that has to be cooked for 36 hours before adding it to the wine. The cooked must aids evaporation so that the volume of the wine is reduced considerably; then, the wine undergoes an aging process of 1 to more than 10 years.

The beauty of this wine also shows when it comes to pairing it with food, because it can complement so well chocolate and more pretentious foods, like asparagus and Brussel sprouts.

marsala wine glasses

Types of Marsala wine

For-cooking Marsala wine is usually the lowest quality of the types of Marsala available, namely the so-called Fino (or Fine; minimum 1 year of aging) and the Superiore (or Superior; 2 years) Marsala. Both styles come in three colors, namely Oro (Gold), Ambra (Amber), and Rubino (Ruby) Marsalas. Gold is dry, Ruby is sweet, while Amber is in between; Gold and Amber contain primarily white grapes, while Ruby has mostly red grapes (no less than 70%). At 10+ years old, Vergine Stravecchio is the highest-end type of Marsala wine that you can find.

Dry versus sweet

This fortified wine ranges from dry to sweet, and its unique taste comes from the local Sicilian grapes used in its making. Dry Marsala wines are more versatile, even though they are mainly used for the nutty flavor they bring to entrées, turkey, veal and mushrooms; a caramelized dry Marsala wine sauce goes wonderfully with any of these dishes. When it is dry enough, the taste of the Marsala is described as somewhat similar to that of Madeira wine.

On the other hand, sweet Marsala wines infuse their sweetness into desserts like zabaglione, but can also be used in viscous sauces that go well with pork loin and chicken.

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