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All about marsala
What is marsala?
Marsala wine is fortified nectar, a symbol of the Sicily region in Italy and quite similar to port and sherry. It's available in endless varieties like sweet, dry or semi-dry. Its color varies from gold to ruby red, based on the grape variety.
In comparison with other dessert and fortified wines, it has a more complex flavor profile, with mouthwatering notes of honey, caramel, candied fruits and spice. You can serve sweet varieties with chocolate, pistachios and typical Sicilian desserts, such as cannoli, and candied fruit. Meanwhile, dry versions are a good choice as an aperitif.
A short story of marsala
Marsala was the first Italian wine to gain international popularity. In the late 18th century, John Woodhouse traveled from Liverpool, England, to Marsala, Sicily, and fell in love with the delicious local sweet wine, perpetuum.
During those times, Brits were perpetually at war with Spain, Portugal and France, and they defended their patriotic pride by banning wines from these countries, including port, madeira and sherry. Obviously, the less patriotic Brits weren't that happy to give up on their favorite dessert wine, so Woodhouse had the genius idea of importing the Sicilian wine as a substitute for its international counterparts. It was also much cheaper.
Woodhouse had to add spirit to the wine, so it could survive the long trip without losing its flavor, and that's how fortified marsala dessert wine was born. In the early 19th century, Woodhouse and his business partners set the first official standards for marsala production. In recent times, marsala returned to its roots, and most bottles today hail from Sicily, especially the province of Trapani.