The most beautiful wine cellars in the world on the island of Mozia , the salt extraction plants, the zibibbo,* the raw fish on the sliced oranges, and a hotel that looks like a museum… this is Marsala
by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
A city was never never more accurately described than Marsala. The name comes comes from Mars-Allah, which translates as the port of Allah, Arabic word for God.
A truly divine harbor where the historic bagli are not located in the middle of vineyards but only a few meters from the sea. The bagli are normally square or rectangular courtyards surrounded by large protective walls, and a huge front door. Here in Marsala these historic bagli structures are the best wine cellars I’ve ever seen.
This is Marsala, the European city of wine for 2013 where I went to report on the tourism of wine in the “International Forum for the Economy and the wine Market“, organized by the Cities of wine with the valuable help of Andrea Gabrielli.
And then there’s the story!
The Florio were the first Italians to get into the business of producing Marsala. These ingenious entrepreneurs became wealthy by founding the first Italian shipping company and even a car race, the Targa Florio. The “descent of the thousand,” happened right across from the wine cellars are located. Garibaldi landed here, to begin the unification of Italy by conquering the Southern Kingdom. Garibaldi returned to give them the rifle and saber used for the liberation of the island. Garibaldi also chose his favorite wine, a sweet type that from then on bears his name.
Today, Florio is owned by Ilva Saronno just like all the other great Sicilian wineries, like the Corvo di Salaparuta. Now there is another family of brilliant entrepreneurs at the helm of Florio, the Reina partners with Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine, 4th in the global ranking of international giants who a few days ago, purchased half of the Walsh Whiskey Distillery in Ireland. These are forward looking people that look at the big picture. By bringing back the former glory to the wine cellars of Florio Marsala they are giving to all those who love Italian wine and its history.
This is just a milestone in the history of Italian wine, the Marsala wine is the first example of a large company venturing through the streets of the world with millions of bottles, re-launching its image with a modern production and the aid of the tourism of wine which courageously and bravely is lugging the entire city to new heights. And they are not alone: even the Pellegrino wineries have restored the cylindrical towers – once used as huge concrete vats – creating a restaurant with a breathtaking view of the Egadi Islands.
A flurry of initiatives that has paid off, the Mayor Maria Julia Adam told me that “in 2013 Marsala has increased its tourist arrivals by 45% over last year.” No one in Italy did better, terrific! And, there’s not only wine: the restaurant business has reached exceptional levels. And I speak not only of the restaurants where raw fish is offered on slices of oranges and the caponata makes you fall in love ( San Lorenzo Osteria SLO ), but even the bistros where arancini, sfincioni, panelle, pizzas … send an irresistible fragrance.
I stayed in a former aristocratic mansion – Hotel del Carmine - with eighteenth-century floors full of flowers and arabesques, antique furniture and a breakfast of homemade pastries from the seven-star hotel.
The trip to Mozia guided personally by the President of the Pro Loco Bice Marino was unforgettable. Mozia is an island that tells the story of the Mediterranean: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans … here you get a bette understanding of everything that you’ve been reading in books and then there is the charm of the sea, the sun, the legends … it’s so beautiful it gives you goose bump … and then the mills, salt works, the underwater street….
It is surprising that in such a context, where entrepreneurship makes great designs, Sicily comes out among the last places in Italy when it comes to funding from OCM (promotional activities in non-EU countries ) who here grants 80% of the total required investment as lost funds. Its a Pity, since Sicily has sensational wines in a stunning frame of breathtaking production and therefore the success abroad seems a given.
Visit Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s BLOG and Website – Donatella Cinelli Colombini owns two wineries in Tuscany, Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda, where the Osteria di Donatella restaurant is located.
* zibibbo: The word “raisins” comes from the Arab word zabīb (زبيب) which means “raisins” or “raisin”
Straw yellow, coppery, paper white, rosé, onion skin: these are the hues that we can expect when we encounter a Pinot Grigio, so that the question often legitimately arises of what exactly is the correct color expression of this wine.
Pinot Grigio is often called a white grape, but that is incorrect, since it is not at all a white grape. The name itself–grigio means grey–indicates that it is a grape that is not that is not perfectly white. This variety is an offshoot of Pinot Noir, and without entering into the minutiae of genetics, a glance at the color of the berry is enough to see that.
This is exactly where we started, from the berry itself, in order to highlight all of the quality potential of this variety. We determined to demonstrate to the fullest extent possible Pinot Grigio’s distinctive characteristics, its rich fragrance, tannic mass, structural complexity, and therefore its unusual color tonality as well.
Going a bit deeper into the technical details:
The coppery hue of the wine is often attributed to a more or less extended maceration of the must on the skins, during which the colorants in the grape-skin pass into the must, as happens on a normal basis with red wines. In fact, however, the presence of color in the must happens even when there is no skin contact during fermentation, since even when the grape is still on the vine, and it achieves ripeness, a certain amount of pigment passes into the juice in the berry.
It is a fact that all musts of pinot grigio, when they are freshly pressed, exhibit a hue that is to some degree copperish, but only a few are able to preserve that tonality over time; the majority of the wines suffer a progressive loss of hue and finally display that hallmark straw yellow.
The reason for this behaviour lies in the fact that pinot grigio’s pigment, which derives from its anthocyanins, oxidizes quite easily during the pressing process, and although it remains intact even during fermentation, it gradually disappears through progressive precipitation of the oxidized pigments. The final result is that the natural color accumulates as sediment in the aging container, coloring the fine lees pink.
If, however, processing the grapes and handling the must is performed in an oxygen-free environment, then the pigments naturally occurring in the grape will be preserved and will remain stable throughout the life of the wine. This is the process that we utilize for making our Dessimis. Its coppery colour, however, is not one of our style prerequisites; rather, it is a natural consequence of an oxygen-free production practice, aimed at preserving the full spectrum of the grape’s aromatic compounds, which can be lost during this stage of wine making.
I’m Raffaele De Gennaro and I work as a wine consultant for Vias Imports, in the Hudson Valley area and sell to Restaurants and Wine Shops. If you can’t find the wine in your area, just have the Restaurateur or Wine Shop contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or have them leave me a voice mail at 212-629-0200 x373 and I will get back to them.
Thanksgiving’s dishes are traditionally rich demanding wines that pair/harmonize well with the food you are serving In most instances your favorite wine is the best wine to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner; but if you’re searching, or in the mood to experiment, I’m proposing some wines that you can experiment with, and get to see how they bring out the flavor of the food you will be serving, maybe a little bit before the Holiday hits us. And with all the other holidays ahead of us, you can experiment pairings with with some other favorite dishes you’ll be serving throughout the Holiday season. Hope you have as much fun experimenting as I did by searching for some great matches.
Continue reading Pairing ideas for giving thanks
While its an honor to receive the award, the most important aspect of the competition is to be among the tre bicchieri recipients who are producing excellent wines while being well priced. This year among the 415 winners, there are 107 wines that can be purchased for approximately $20 in Italy and throughout the World. This fact has been the propelling force behind the Italian wine into the international scene. More than 30 annual grand tastings are organized around the globe and for 2014 the guide will also be translated in Japanese, joining the English, German and Chinese editions. The other important aspect of the guide is that of sustainability, this year there are 84 Green Tre Bicchieri listed, Wines poduced by means of organic or biodynamic viticulture. This year’s results were produced from a panel of 60 experts, who tasted 45,000 wines and reviewed 20,000 labels from well over 2,300 wineries.
Continue reading Gambero Rosso 2014
Selected Memoirs of an Obsessed Mycophile, by Dom Laudato answers many questions for foragers such as, “What are the best mushrooms to look for on Long Island? And, “How can I be absolutely positive of an identification?”. Dom introduces the reader to the fascinating world of wild mushrooms first-hand through the eyes of a lifelong, experienced (and often obsessed) mycophile.
Continue reading Is it edible?
Pumpkins are winter squashes, but not all winter squashes are pumpkins! – No matter what you call them, in the fall many wonderful varieties are available. Squash is native to the New World, and some species have been cultivated for more than 9,000 years.
Continue reading Are all winter squashes pumpkins?
It’s that time again, the New York Wine Experience kicks off at six thirty in the evening with the Critics Choice Grand Tasting. The Wine Spectator’s Critics’ Choice Grand Tasting will take place Thursday and Friday evening from six to ten with each winery pouring wines that have been rated 90 plus by Wine Spectator
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The Municipality of Montepulciano and the Consorzio del Vino Nobile have set up a number of initiatives to celebrate the release of this stamp that will help promote the territory and the product. Breginning Friday morning, at 12.00, at the Fortezza, the Mayor Andrea Rossi, the President of the Consorzio del Vino Nobile Andrea Natalini and Dr. Tiziana Morandi, Area Manager of the Italian Post Office, will introduce the new stamp.
Continue reading The Italian Ministry of Economic Development releases the first stamp dedicated to DOCG wines
Nebbiolo is the oldest and the noblest native varietal of Piedmont. It most likely takes its name from the Italian word for fog, “nebbia”, which is very common in the hills of Alba, especially in early to mid-October when this late-ripening variety is harvested. It is often called the “queen of black grapes”as it needs meticulous and laborious care.
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The Hudson Valley, located just north of New York City and extending almost to Albany, has been a choice destination for tours, museums, performing arts, historic sites and and wineries. Its all here including a 5 Star Hotel and an Airport! – And just like the Loire Valley, we have wineries, vineyards, farms, fresh produce and rolling green hills and a river to transports the goods from the inland ports out to the New York Harbor.
Continue reading Wineries, farm fresh produce and attractions