Marsala Wine: The Florio Terre Arse

Adriatic has recently introduced the Florio Terre Arse Marsala wine to list of speciality wines. What follows is a history about this enigmatic beverage and tasting notes for your interest.

Marsala – A History

Florio LadyMarsala is a fortified wine from Sicily that is produced within and surrounding the region that shares its name. Marsala wine may only come from this region in order for it to be labelled Marsala.

The story goes that during the Napoleonic occupation in Italy, Englishman John Woodhouse landed at the port of Marsala and discovered that the local wine was fortified in wooden barrels and tasted similar to the Spanish and Portuguese Sherry and Port. The English needed a wine for use on ships for long-distance sea travel in order to ship it back to England. By adding brandy to the wine, Mr Woodhouse developed in the wine a resistance to temperature changes and subsequently invented Marsala.

The wine proved successful in England, and Mr Woodhouse eventually returned to Sicily to begin commercial production of the wine. Florio bought the Woodhouse production and is still one of the largest producers of Marsala.

Florio Marsala – Terre Arse

There are various types of Marsala wine. Some are better Terre Arsefor aperitif, while others are best suited to being consumed after the meal, and others still are considered to be ‘meditation wines’: a wine to be sipped slowly while in quiet contemplation, each sip a new discovery of the characteristics of the wine.

The Florio Terre Arse is a meditation wine if served between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius, or an aperitif at 8 to 10 degrees.

The Grillo grapes used to make the Terre Arse Marsala come from the coastal strip in the northern part of Marsala. The area is a D.O.C (Designation of Controlled Origin) region. Grown in arid soil on vines facing the sea, this Marsala wine shows a distinctive dry vanilla-liquorice flavour and burnt honey aroma to be savoured and enjoyed.

Rainy winters and hot, windy summers allow the grapes to have high sugar content if left to ripen into September.

The grapes are pressed and fermented at a controlled temperature. The wine is then blended with wine distillate as per tradition. The wine is then left in oak barrels for at least 8 years and a further 6 months in the bottle to create its distinctive golden colour.

If this Marsala is stored at about 14 degrees Celsius in a dry place with no direct sunlight, it has a lifespan of practically forever. Florio Terre Arse has been produced since the 1981 harvest to great acclaim.

Discover this wine at Adriatic.

Florio Winery

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