Pellegrino Marsala

During my visit to Pellegrino I had the opportunity to learn first-hand about one of Europe’s most famous fortified wines, Marsala. While the market has faded and consumer interest in these wines has waned, a few producers soldier on making traditional and powerful, fortified wines.

While many have come to learn of Marsala by opening something cheap and cheerful to enhance a sauce, the stars of this seaside town are dry and profound, like the best Amontillado from Jerez de la Frontera.

Below are the notes on my favorite wine of the visit, from a vintage three decades ago.

Pellegrino, Vino Marsala a Vergine, Riserva Annata 1981 The wine is deceptively sweet-appearing, with smells of butterscotch, caramel and almonds.  Yet in the mouth it becomes abundantly clear that this wine is dry.  The sense of nuttiness and caramel follows through with a little warmth and a smooth texture – very nice.

The grapes behind this wine are Grillo and Catarratto grown in Marsala and Mazara del Vallo in the province of Trapani. The wine was recently bottled, in 2010 and the sample tasted has the bottling code# 1028601. 19% available for 43.68 euros at Cantine Pellegrino

About RJ

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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