A fortified wine that can be either dry or sweet. Sweet Marsala is used both for drinking and cooking. Dry Marsala makes a nice pre-dinner drink.
Marsala is a wine produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily. Marsala first received Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1969.Characteristics and types
Marsala is produced using the Grillo, Inzolia, and Catarratto white grape
varietals, among others.
Marsala contains about 15–20% alcohol by volume. Different Marsala wines are classified according to their color, sweetness, and the duration of their aging. The three levels of sweetness are secco (with a maximum 40 grams of residual sugar per liter), semisecco (41–100 g/l) and sweet (over 100 g/l). The color and aging classifications are as follows:
1. Oro has a golden color.
2. Ambra has an amber color. The coloring comes from the mosto cotto sweetener added to the wine.
3. Rubino has a ruby color, made from red grape varieties such as Perricone, Calabrese, Nero d'Avola and Nerello Mascalese.
4. Fine has minimal aging, typically less than a year.
5. Superiore is aged at least two years.
6. Superiore Riserva is aged at least four years.
7. Vergine e/o Soleras is aged at least five years.
8. Vergine e/o Soleras Stravecchio e Vergine e/o Soleras Riserva is aged at least ten years.
Marsala wine was traditionally served as an aperitif between the first and second courses of a meal. Contemporary diners will serve its drier versions chilled with Parmesan (stravecchio), Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other spicy cheeses, with fruits or pastries, and the sweeter at room temperature as a dessert wine. Marsala is sometimes discussed with another Sicilian wine, Passito di Pantelleria (Pantelleria Island's raisin wine).In cookingMarsala wine is frequently used in cooking, and is especially prevalent in dishes served in Italian restaurants in the United States. A typical Marsala sauce, for example, involves reducing the wine almost to a syrup with onions or shallots, then adding mushrooms and herbs. One of the most popular Marsala recipes is chicken marsala, in which flour-coated pounded chicken breast halves are braised in a mixture of Marsala, butter, olive oil, mushrooms, and spices. Marsala is also used in some risotto recipes, and to produce rich Italian desserts such as zabaglione, tiramisu and shortcake.
Also see Sherry, Vermouth