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Sicily

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Categories: Marsala

Italy’s southernmost region and the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has been renowned since classical antiquity for its diverse agricultural bounty, celebrated by commentators and historians including Timaeus of Taormina and Pliny the Elder. Known as ‘the granary of the Roman Empire’, it is also famous for its sea salt as well as all manner of citrus fruits; almonds and pistachios; artichokes, olives and, of course, grapes. 

Sicily has been a center of Mediterranean viticulture and trade for more than 2500 years, and there is evidence that grapes were cultivated commercially as far back as 8000 B.C. by the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were in turn succeeded by the Greeks, Carthaginians, and the Romans; by the Moors, Byzantines, Aragonese, and Spanish; by the Piemontese, Austrians, Bourbons and finally, the English. For much of that history, it was known for its strong, sweet wines made with Zibibbo (Muscat d’Alexandria) and later for Marsala, one of the world’s great fortified wines.

Today, Marsala remains its best known—and most misunderstood—wine, but the island has begun to shift away from the ‘bulk wines’ that dominated production during much of the latter half of the 20th century. Sicily’s dry Mediterranean climate and coastal breezes make it ideally suited to the production of organic and biodynamic grapes; its diverse topography and remarkable array of climats, soils and high-quality indigenous grape varieties have spurred new ambition in the 21st century. While international grape varieties have found a home here, Sicilian winemakers are increasingly focused on grape varieties unique to the island, especially Grillo, Carricante, and Zibibbo for white wines, and Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappucio, Frappato and Nero d’Avola for reds. The emergence of the Faro and Etna DOCs in the early 2000s and the stirrings of a Marsala renaissance can now be seen as a tipping point, and Sicily has become one of Italy’s most dynamic wine regions.

    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Secco

    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Secco

    ItalySicilyMarsala DOC

    17.0% Alc/Vol • Fortified, Oxidative

    Delicious, balanced and refined, Ostinato Fine Ambra Secco is a dry Marsala that is produced according to traditional methods now rarely seen in the appellation, especially in Fine expressions. It begins with its ‘alto grado’ base wine, from late-harvest, low-yielding Grillo, Inzolia and Catarratto old vines. Its higher natural ABV means the wine is less reliant on fortification and is more expressive of Marsala’s indelible terroir. Extended aging beyond the minimum Fine requirements produce a Marsala that resonates with deep vinous character. Full details

    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Secco
    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Secco
    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Dolce

    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Dolce

    ItalySicilyMarsala DOC

    17.0% Alc/Vol • Fortified, Oxidative

    Delicious, balanced and refined, Ostinato Fine Ambra Dolce is a sweet Marsala that is produced according to traditional methods now rarely seen in the appellation, especially in Fine expressions. It begins with its ‘alto grado’ base wine, from late-harvest, low-yielding Grillo, Inzolia and Catarratto old vines. Its higher natural ABV means the wine is less reliant on fortification and is more expressive of Marsala’s indelible terroir. Extended aging beyond the minimum Fine requirements produce a Marsala that resonates with deep vinous character. Full details

    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Dolce
    Ostinato Marsala Fine Ambra Dolce