September 20, 2022 by
Maytte Rivera

The white grape Grillo has long been regarded as one of the base varieties in the production of the fortified wine Marsala in the Italian island of Sicily.  Its origin has many theories, with some believing that it is a native cross of Catarratto and Moscato di Alessandria, and others affirming that it was introduced to Sicily via the southern Italian region of Puglia. Either way, Grillo has been making a comeback with still, not fortified wines, after being nearly abandoned in the 1960’s in favor of more vigorous varieties.  Not to be confused with Pinot Grigio, Grillo does very well in the Sicilian heat without becoming overly ripe, creating wines that are light to medium in intensity with piercing acidity. Presenting aromas of grapefruit, herbs, and wet gravel, it has become a favorite with adventurous drinkers looking for a fresh white wine that is very food friendly.

Grillo is usually vinified in stainless steel tanks to preserve its cleanliness, although some producers age it in large oak barrels for short periods of time to add a hint of toasted flavors and complexity.  In the southern coast of Sicily, Stemmari winery produces a 100% version from their sustainably farmed vineyards.  With five months of aging on the lees, this wine shows aromas of lemon zest, mango, and a saline note along with vibrant acidity.

Grillo’s naturally high acidity is a perfect pairing to a variety of dishes like seafood escabeche, chicken in lemon sauce, and vegetable-based plates. Enjoy this unusual grape at the beach or surprise friends in your next wine tasting group. Salud!

Discover our selection of Grillo

Author: Maytte Rivera

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