Monday, June 10, 2013

Marsala Wine

Marsala Wine

An enthusiastic tour guide can really enhance your experience while studying abroad!  Our group had the pleasure of receiving an amazing tour of the Florio Winery on Friday.  It was by far my favorite out of all the tours we went on in Sicily.  Our guide painted a wonderful picture of the history and production of Marsala wine.  The Florio Winery was the most unique out of all three wineries we have visited so far. 
The Florio Winery is located on the western coast of Sicily.  The production began in 1833 with Vincenzo Florio.  The Florio family was a very prominent Sicilian family for several generations.  The winery does not belong to the Florio family today, but still bears the name. 
Marsala wine is a fortified with alcohol which makes it different from table wine.  It  is produced using white grape varieties.  The different classifications of Marsala wine are based on the aging, the sweetness, and the color of the wine. 
The Florio Winery is unique in the fact that they produce Marsala wine.  There is a particular art that goes into creating Marsala wine from how it is aged to the type of cellars that the barrels are kept in.  Our Tour guide informed us that enough space is left in the top of the barrels to aide in the oxidation and aging process of the wine.  I found it interesting the way the wine cellars were designed.  The floors and ceilings of the cellars are constructed in a way that keep the humidity level low, and to keep the cellar cool.  The construction of the cellars is the only thing controlling the climate for aging the wine.  Even though it was warm outside the wine cellar was pretty chilly.  The guide laughed at the fact that most of us were wearing shorts.
At the end of the tour we were invited to taste two different types of wines.  Marsala Vergine was the first type of Marsala we tasted.  It was paired with parmesan cheese.  The second wine we tried was Marsala Semisecco.  This was sweeter than the first, and was paired with a dipping cookie.  After the tasting we visited a shop filled with their products.  Our guide mentioned that they did not export to the United States, so I purchased a bottle of the Marsala Vergine for my family to try!  The Florio Winery was beautiful, and was a great experience. 

- Emily Darling

Marsala Semisecco and Marsala Vergine

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