EASY MENFI

TIVITTI
LA BAMBINA
LUCORI
NOTRIX
RIVEDIBILE

TERROIR

DIETRO LE CASE
COSTE AL VENTO
AREMI
FUORIZONA
MICROCOSMO

HAND MADE

AMMANO
CIATU
ALBAMARINA
NINARE

TRADITION

ALTRIMENTI
CODA DELLA FOCE
AZIMUT
LA VOTA
18843
Pin It

I am quite sure that nobody outside Sicily knew anything about Grillo only 10 years ago.
This is also still the case for many indigenous Sicilian grapes, but the one surprising thing is that Grillo's popularity has broadened from being totally obscure to becoming one of the most appreciated varieties in a very limited amount of time.

The reasons for such a huge success lay in the amazing work of a bunch of small producers focused on organic farming and natural winemaking, who have soon become the Grillo’s most interesting interpreters in Western Sicily. Skin contact and a generous supply of oxygen during the fermentation are their main choices to obtain rich, complex and very peculiar wines that strive to capture the very essence of terroir once embodied by the old school “vino di casa”, thus bringing Sicilian traditions to a new life.

Unlike other Sicilian varieties, Grillo is not an ancient grape: very recent genetic analysis confirm that it is the result of a crossing between Catarratto and Zibibbo, an indigenous biotype of Muscat of Alexandria.

Catarratto Zibibbo incrocio

At the end of the XIX century, Sicily was a renowned center for experimentation in viticulture and its Universities were credited among the most illustrious research centers at an international level. Palermo hosted a world-famous academic facility for studying possible solutions to the problem of phylloxera, the pest that in only a half century had almost destroyed the European vineyards.

The tremendous work done by its scholars (Paulsen, Ruggeri, Prosperi and many others) contributed to the creation of the resistant rootstocks that are still used today all over Europe. Some of these scientists put their efforts into producing new hybrids, hoping to obtain resistant varieties: Grillo, created by Antonio Mendola in 1873, is one of them.

CHARACTERISTICS OF GRILLO GRAPES

Grillo biotypes

Grillo is a vigorous variety that enjoys hot and dry weather, therefore it adapts perfectly to the Sicilian climate.

There are two main biotypes.
Both are vigorous and resistant to late blight and each of them can concentrate a good amount of sugars together with a rather low pH: a very interesting combination that is often associated with any grape variety that gives birth to great quality wines.

As shown in the picture, more acidic wines are made from the compact clusters of biotype A, while fruitier wines derive from the loose bunches of biotype B.

 

GRILLO: TASTING NOTES

Grillo wines can show very different personalities depending on the winemaking technique.

Grillo aromatic profileA modern approach, often followed by big producers, would avoid any air exposure of the must: a reductive winemaking, together with the use of selected yeast strains, will result in lemony wines that show crispy fruitiness and are very easy to drink, which somehow remind me of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.

The old school approach that favors skin contact and a natural oxygen supply will result, on the contrary, in richer, earthier and spicier wines with a riper fruit feeling and a more complex aromatic profile: these are the wines that I generally like the most.

SERVING TIPS AND FOOD PAIRING

While crispier Grillo wines can be served in a regular white wine glass and are nicer when young, the most expressive wines made through skin contact should be poured in large glasses and never be chilled to fully enjoy their complexity. Plus, they can age longer than the first ones, and will develop deeper tertiary aromas while refining 3-5 years (or more) in the bottle.
Food pairing is easy and offers an amazing array of possibilities: from fish to egg preparations, from white meat and goat cheeses to pasta and risotto dishes, Grillo wines are always a great addition to any meal.

WINE SHEETS

Btg-ninare2022.jpg Btg-fuorizona-doc.jpg

Albamarina
Vino Bianco Frizzante

Coste al Vento
Grillo Menfi DOC

 

MORE RESOURCES

Info GrilloWant to know more about Grillo? 
Watch and download the complete infographic by clicking on the picture.
Feel free to use any of the information and pictures included in this article for your studies or presentations, by citing the source.

Want to share this article or the infographic?
Please tag your posts with #SicilianWine, it will be easier for you to follow all interactions on Facebook and Twitter.

  

Tags: Menfi DOC, #SicilianWine, grillo, infografica, sicilian grape varieties

THE SHORT STORY

THE SHORT STORY

Grape variety: Inzolia grown in Dietro le Case vineyard
Soil: clay soil with calcareous components, very rich in limestones and sea minerals
Vineyard: planted in 1960s, head-trained bush vines
Winemaking: skin contact for 48 hours in steel tanks
Alcoholic fermentation: spontaneous, with wild yeast
Malolactic fermentation: spontaneous
Refining: 4 months on fine lees, in steel tanks
Aging: one oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment
Average production: a few dozen bottles every some years

Download wine sheet

WINEMAKING

The grapes are handpicked the first half of September, when they are fully ripe. The traditional pruning system - called "a pezzo e spalla" - and the age of the vines, allow slow constant ripening cycles and a great aromatic concentration.

The fermentation is spontaneous, with 2 days skin contact. After soft pressing, the fermentation continues for 8 days in steel tanks. After malolactic is completed, the wine refines on fine lees for about 4 months and is then racked into one single oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment.

The wine is bottled directly from the barrel no more than 2-3 times every decade.

TASTING NOTES

Altrimenti has a bright amber color, enlivened by golden hues. Its nose is predominantly tertiary, where fruity notes of apricot and ripe figs blend onto an intense and aromatic herbal background, enriched by roasted and dried nuts.

It is dry and full bodied to the palate, with a distinct savory personality that harmoniously meets a tannic finish.

SERVING TEMPERATURE: 54 - 58 °F
Pour Altrimenti in wide glasses, at a fresh but not chilled temperature.
Please avoid freezers and blast chillers, as well as a prolonged time in your home refrigerator: this wine is not filtered nor fined, and any temperature below 40 °F will mortify its complex aromas.

This site uses cookies and third-party cookies to provide you with a better experience and service.
When navigating or using our services, you agree to our use of them. You can change your cookie settings at any time.