Grillo is a native Sicilian grape that was once overlooked and mainly used to used in blends of their local Marsala fortified wine. But it has now rightly taken its place among the top local grapes of Sicily. Many friends who have tried it on holiday have become great fans of it. It has this light floral honeysuckle aroma, and soft stone fruit flavours with spicy pineapple twists. Typically un-oaked so it has pure fruit, that often reminds me of a new world Chardonnay. Given Italian whites can often be criticised for being neutral this definitely proves that theory wrong.
And this year it has been officially made a “DOC”. That is the legal category only given to the best Italian grapes and regions. It means there are stricter rules around how the grapes are grown, the yields they can produce and the resulting wines go through a tasting panel for approval, before they are released. So we should see the star of Grillo continue to rise.
Grillo is a crossing between two other local grapes Zibbibo and Catarratto. Zibbibo is very floral and zesty whilst Catarratto delivers the richer fruit, like pineapple and spice notes. If you get to taste those other grapes you may well agree that the combined version as Grillo is the best of the bunch. Styles with lees contact are richer and more full bodied.
Chardonnay, Viognier, Catarratto, Fiano, Roussanne, Marsanne
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