Marco de Bartoli
Marco De Bartoli was considered one of Sicily’s winemaking pioneers for his long-standing commitment to the native Sicilian white grape varieties, Grillo and Zibibbo. He has been succeeded by his sons, who have carried on the tradition of producing wines from two separate estates: the first in Marsala, in Sicily’s south-west corner, the other on the small island of Pantelleria, south-east of Sicily. The belief in the value of traditional methods of production of these grapes and the wines is complemented by an equally strong belief in the future of Sicily as one of Europe’s most vital viticultural areas. Grillo, which historically forms the basis of Marsala’s classic wines, has been grown on the island since Phoenician times. From the Samperi winery, in the Contrada Samperi just west of Marsala, Marco De Bartoli produces several wines from this grape.
Like so many of our producers de Bartoli are trying to rediscover the natural flavour of wine using native yeasts and low sulphur during the vinification. Out of this ambition was born the Integer wines. One’s initial impression is of the uncompromising purity of the wine in the mouth – no corners have been cut, no corners of the palate will remain unchallenged by the wine. As Eric might say: “The Integer wines will knock you on your ass” (technical wine speak – I will explain later).
Grillo Vignaverde - Reminds one of a really excellent Muscadet with its subtle notes of nuts and peach being, pure and airy, mineral, balanced and precise. Slam the clams on whatever an Italian plancha is called.
Pietra Nera - From the basaltic soils of Pantelleria an island between Sicily and northern Africa a decidedly breezy and cool Zibibbo (aka Muscat of Alexandria) with deliciously intricate, citrus-pith, smoky mineral and salty aromas and flavours.
The Integer Wines
From the Latin word integer meaning whole, these wines made with local varieties, farmed organically without any organic treatments and fermented naturally with native yeasts, aged on the lees, and bottled without sulphites.
Grillo Integer - The Integer line, one Grillo and one Zibibbo, are both white wines fermented on the skins (a small in amphora for five months) and subsequently aged in old oak. No sulphur is added, and the Grillo remains in contact with the skins for twenty days (ten days of maceration, and ten of fermentation). The wine has some amber glints, profound nose of crystallised citrus, great vinosity and minerality.
Zibibbo Integer - Old Zibibbo vines in alberello, organic farming, early harvest, destemmed grapes and 20 days skin contact. The result is a wine that aromatically explosive, drinkable and profound. Grapefruit, wild herbs, balsamic smoky aromas and flavours.
Vecchio Samperi is more than 40 years old, with the smoky, nutty complexity of a fine sherry. It is unfortified, just as all Marsala was before the British came along towards the end of the 18th century and added spirit to it. The wine (from Grillo again) is dry, intense and mellow with flavours of chestnuts, Brazil nuts and orange peel. Try it with aged pecorino cheeses, or maybe slightly chilled alongside some shellfish or other seafood as an aperitif. It is a rare treasure in the world of wine and is described by Marco as a “Vino Liquoroso secco”.
Marsala Vigna La Miccia Oro - An innovative, contemporary expression of Marsala where the most fruity and delicate notes of the grape have been preserved thanks to cool vinification and avoiding any contact with oxygen during the aging period. Notes of mature figs, chestnut honey and muscovado.
Marsala Superiore 10 year old - This is benchmark plus Marsala from De Bartoli estate-only fruit, hand-harvested on their Samperi property, and vinified in large oak and chestnut barrels. Part of the grape must is fortified with mistelle, leaving it naturally sweet (50 grams residual sugar), which is then added back into the wine. Focused and rich with walnut, leather and orange skin.
Marsala Vergine 1988 - Grillo grapes are traditionally fermented at room temperature in oak and chestnut barrels. A part of the must was fortified in 1988 only with acquavite (brandy) obtained from the same grapes. Bottled in autumn 2014. The wine aged over 27 years in chestnut and oak vats of different sizes. The flavours (baked apples, a salty tang, roasted walnuts, gentle coffee and caramel and citrus peel) seem to last forever.
Marsala Superiore 1987, Marco de Bartoli
Oxi-date: Marco De Bartoli has revived the quality of Marsala that harks back to the 18th century, to when the British made it famous (and were prepared to fight for it!) Vinified in large oak and chestnut barrels this majestic tawny-hued vintage Marsala is focused and rich with walnut, leather, orange skin, chestnuts and even with notes of anchovies 'sotto olio'. Perfect with dolci or elaborate cheese and nut dishes.
Sweet wines from Pantelleria
Bukkuram Sole Agosto - A wine of orange blossom, apricot and honey. Legend has it that Apollo himself was successfully wooed by the goddess of love, Tanit, when she substituted Moscato from the volcanic island of Pantelleria for his daily ambrosia.
Passito di Pantelleria Bukkuram - From the shining gold colour to the rich, toasty caramel scents, it’s almost impossible not to get drawn in by this wine. Once in, there’s no putting it down: it tastes like a liquid tarte tatin golden syrup, ginger, golden raisins, sticky pudding, sun and herbs and chamomile all rolled into one.
Inside cover courtesy of Pippo Onorati.
Interested in finding out more about any of Marco de Bartoli's wines? Buy online here or contact us directly…
Retail: [email protected] / 01483 554750