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DOC area for liqueur wine in the Italian region Sicily, He is one of the best known Dessert wines the world and is named after the port city of the same name (Arabic Marsah-el-Allah = port or gate of God) in the province of Trapani. The zone with over 5,000 hectares of vineyards includes, with the exception of the Sicilian upstream and associated island Pantelleria, as well as the municipalities of Alcamo and Favignana, the entire province of Trapani. In 1770, the English merchant and wine expert John came Woodhouse to Marsala and started exporting Sicilian wines to England because of the need there port wine and sherry the offer exceeded. The year of the "invention" was 1773, and Woodhouse considered eight liters for each of the four hundred liter barrels intended for England alcohol when restricted. He had been in before Portugal with the production of port wine employed. In 1796 he opened the first Marsala house in Marsala, consisting of a warehouse and a winery.

The success of the wine was, so to speak, initiated by the English Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), who ordered an annual delivery of 500 barrels for the fleet in 1800. In 1812, the Englishman Benjamin Ingham founded a second company in Marsala and also exported the wine to North America and Australia. The largest Marsala house still in existence today was opened by Vincenzo Florio in 1832. All three companies were eventually taken over by the Wormwood House in 1929 Cinzano accepted.


The 1969 DOC rules still let in flavoring with ingredients like bananas, eggs, cinchona, Strawberries, almonds, cream, coffee etc. too. The "Marsala all'Uovo" mixed with egg yolk was particularly popular. These types, called "Marsala Speciale", even had their own DOC status. The sometimes quite adventurous mixtures ultimately contributed to the bad image. Severely restrictive DOC regulations were enacted in 1994. The special forms could no longer be called Marsala and the permitted additions and methods were strictly regulated. The starting product is a different blend of the white wine types Ansonica ( Inzolia ) Catarratto Bianco. Damaschino and Grillo, as well as the red wine varieties Calabrese ( Nero d'Avola ) Nerello Mascalese. Nerello cappuccio and Pignatello ( Perricone ).

Marsala - bottle and glass

There are three color types: Oro (white, gold-colored), Amber (white, amber ) and Rubino (ruby red, aged amber). For all Oro and Ambra types, the four white grape varieties are blended in any mixture, for all Rubino types the three red (70-100%) and white varieties (up to 30%) are blended. All three Marsala qualities have these three color variations. The wines are in the sweetness secco (dry, sweetness under 40 g / l), semisecco (semi-dry, 40 to 100 g / l) and dolce (sweet, over 100 g / l). Since 1984, only the two types Fine and Superiore "Mosto cotto" (cooked, thickened must) can be added to sweeten and / or "Sifone" (sprinkled must). At the label Abbreviations for the type of manufacture are sometimes included.

Marsala types

The great time of the Marsala, however, seems to be over. From the mid-1980s there was a short-term renaissance due to the stricter DOC regulations introduced in 1984, but in the meantime the traditional wine seems to be slowly being forgotten again. Production volumes declined sharply. The Vergines / Soleras types are only available in small quantities. The label shows the product name: variant, color and degree of sweetness; for example "Marsala Vergine Stravecchio Oro Secco".

Fine : The most common type in terms of quantity enjoys a rather low reputation in terms of quality, since the simplest wines are produced for the most part. The maturation period is at least one year, although this does not have to take place in the barrel. The alcohol content must be at least 17% vol. IP (Italy Particular) may appear on the label.

Superiore : The maturation period in wooden barrels is at least two and for Superiore Riserva at least four years. The alcohol content must be at least 18% vol. For the most part, these wines are made sweet (dolce). The label may include SOM (Superior Old Marsala), LP (London Particular) or GD (Garibaldi Dolce).

Vergine or Soleras : This high-quality Marsala type makes wines from different vintages and qualities similar to that Solera system at the sherry artfully blended together. The sweeten and Spriten is prohibited against the other two types. It is also the only type to be expanded only in "secco". The alternatively used additional names Vergine and Soleras, as well Riserva and Stravecchio have the same meaning. The maturation times in the barrel are at least five; for Vergine (Soleras) Stravecchio or Vergine (Soleras) Riserva at least ten years. The alcohol content must be at least 18% vol.


Well-known producers are (with some historical companies): Marco de Bartoli, Donnafugata (no longer creates), Florio, Pellegrino and Rallo. Bartoli does not mention the name "Marsala" on the label of his top product "Vecchio Samperi" in Vergine quality (no DOC status), but only markets it as a simple Vino (formerly Vino da Tavola ). The reason is inconsistency with the responsible authorities.

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