english trader john woodhouse is credited with being the first person to fortify the still wines of marsala. marsala started off similar to port/madeira the sense that is was fortified with brandy in order to preserve it during rough voyages. as for sherry, a solera system is used to blend selected vintages. when woodhouse fortified still wine from the marsala region, he loved it so much that he returned back to sicily in 1796 to produce more for england. its reputation hit bottom in the early 20th century when it was deemed a cooking wine. marco di bartoli, cos and planeta palari lead the charge in making serious wine from the marsala region in western sicily. marco de bartoli has been deemed by many to make the best fortified marsala. the marsala selection at iron gate pays tribute to marco de bartoli's expressions of this underappreciated style.
Marco De Bartoli, Marsala Superiore Oro "Vigna La Miccia" Sicily, Italy
3,500 grillo vines per hectare, planted in 1996 in contrada samperi, marsala, and trained with the guyot system. the grapes are picked and selected by hand, soft pressed, naturally decanted and fermented at a controlled temperature stainless steel vats of 50 hl capacity. over 4 years in new french oak barrels of 225 l always topped up. 6 months of bottle. this is dry and 100% grillo.
Marco De Bartoli, Marsala "Vecchio Samperi Ventennale", Sicily, Italy
3500 grillo vines per hectare, planted between 1970 and 1996 in contrada samperi, marsala, in mostly level land, with sandy loam soil. the vines are trained with the 'alberello' or guyot system. the yields are of 20 hectolitres per hectare, harvested in the last ten days of september. the grapes are picked and selected by hand, soft pressed, naturally decanted, and traditional fermented at room temperature, in oak and chestnut barrels. this is dry and 100% grillo.
Marco De Bartoli, Passito Di Pantelleria, "Sole D'agosto" Sicily, Italy
2,500 vines per hectare first planted between 1950 and 1970 in bukkuram district, as low, freestanding bushes trained with the "alberello pantesco" system on volcanic, terraced slopes. the yields are of 25 hectoliters per hectare, picked from mid august to the first week of september. 50% of the grapes are dried in the sunlight, for a minimum of four weeks, over suitable mats and delimited by thick walls made of volcanic stone. the remaining grapes mature on the plant until september. once the fermentation has started, the grapes previously dried are added to the base wine and left macerating during about three months, until a balance between alcohol content and residual sugar is achieved. 12 months in french oak barrels of 225 l and 6 months in stainless steel vats. this is sweet and 100% zibbio(muscat of alexandria).
grappa is named after the ruta plant grown along lake garda in the veneto where 40% of all grappa is made. made from grape-based pomace brandy, grappa may or may not be flavored and alcohol can run anywhere from 35-60% by volume after being diluted by water from its original form. three main components contribute to quality; the still, the style and the pomace / marc / vinaccia. it's generally considered a digestif but those with a lower alcohol expression can work as an aperitif. similar grappa products include orujo, bagaceira, tsipouro and marc.
Araujo Estate (Through St George Spirits) Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California (43%)
earth, grapes, boysenberry
Clear Creek Distillery, Grappa of Pinot Noir (Fermented on the Skins) Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon (40%)
cherry, plum, baking spice
Allegrini, Grappa Di Amarone (10 Months Is Oak) Corvina, Rondinella, Oseleta, Veneto, Italy (42%)
raisin, cherry, chocolate
Inga, Barolo (Twice Distilled in Copper) Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy (42%)
raspberry, iris, bittersweet chocolate
Beccaris, Grappa Di Moscato (Aged in Oak) Moscato, Piedmont, Italy (45%)
caramel, licorice, marshmallow
Niardini Aquavitedi Di Vianaccia Alla Ruta (Flavored with the Ruta Plant) Various Grapes, Veneto, Italy (43%)
grape, ruta plant, wood
Niardini Mandorla (Flavored with Almond and Distilled Cherry Juice) Various Grapes, Veneto, Italy (50%)
cherry, almond, straw
Niardini, Aquaite Di Vanacia Riserva (Aged 15 Years in Slovenian Oak) Pinot Noir / Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Friuliano, Veneto, Italy (50%)
Poli Miele Grappa (Aop Grapes with the Addition of Honey) Various Aop Grapes, Veneto, Italy (28%)
honey, lemon, orange blossom
Bertagnoli Grappa, Koralis (Aged Two Years in French Oak) Teroldego, Chardonnay, Traminer (40%)
vanilla, cinnamon, caramel
Nonino, Lo Chardonnay in Barriques (8-10 Months in Oak) Chardonnay Friuli, Italy (41%)
almond, vanilla, pastry
Nonino, Il Prosecco Riserva (Aged in Oak Over 18 Months) Prosecco, Friuli, Italy(41%)
chocolate, almond, apple
Alesino Grappa Di Brunello Riserva (Over a Year in Oak) Sangiovese, Tuscany, Italy(42%)
dried fruit, vanilla, spice
Molletto, Grappa Di Arneis (Distilled in Traditional Copper Stills) Arneis, Piedmont, Italy (43%)
burnt cherry, dried flowers
Di Castellare, Sangioveto Grappa (Distilled in Less Than 36 Hours) Sangioveto, Tuscany, Italy(44%)
grain, pine, spice
Katsaros, Tsipouro (Made with Anise Seed) Moschiato, Thessaly, Greece (42%)