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Marsala is a well known fortified wine from Italy’s largest island, Sicily. A largely misunderstood and undervalued fortified wine, it is most commonly associated with its sweet variety - usually used as a cooking wine - although the finest dry Masalas are able to stand up to more revered, similar wines such as Sherry and Madeira. Marsala has been made in Sicily since the mid 18th century, and it grew wildly popular around Europe as sailors introduced it to port towns across the continent. Marsala wine has a beautiful set of flavors, most typically including apricot, tamarind, vanilla and tobacco, making it a delightfully intense treat when served as a sipping wine.
Marsala wine comes in several different varieties, and most of them are a world away from the sweet wines used in sauces and chicken dishes. Amber, golden and ruby versions of Masala are produced, from a range of different native grape varietals, and many of the finest are aged for over ten years to achieve a fascinating set of complex flavors and a remarkably smooth finish. It is usually made from the Grillo, Inzolia, Damaschino and Catarratto white grapes, although the ruby Masala wines uses typical Sicilian red varietals such as Nero d’Avola and Calabrese, among others.