|1. Madeira||2. Lustau||3. Commandaria|
This rich, dark, delicious,sweet bomb is usually parked in the kitchen cupboard for cooking. Certain types of marsala do make an excellent ingredient in caramelized sauces and baking,but this Italian fortified wine is also well and truly for sipping.
Hailing from Sicily near the village of Marsala (and by the way, be wary of those which do not come from this Italian isle), this wine comes in different degrees of sweetness and aging with correspondingly different price tags.Best served cool, its flavor profile it nutty with brown sugar, vanilla and dried fruit. The higher end wines boast morello cherry, tobacco, licorice and walnut.
As for pairing, Marsala is your wine for those difficult foods like asparagus, Brussel sprouts and salty seafood. It also has the potency to fare well with strong cheese and spicy curries.
Since you have given Marsala its due by drinking it, you deserve suggestions for a few more wonderful wines that you will similarly enjoy. Read on!
Top 4 Best Wines Similar To Marsala 2021
This fortified wine from the Portuguese islands of Madeira and Porto Santo is the result of a happy accident. When Portuguese ships were exploring the world during the 15th century, Madeira was on board. When it crossed the equator after months in the hold, the warmth and time had improved its quality. Customers were so pleased that the production method was altered to include warming during the aging process. Madeira is made in dry, medium-dry, medium-rich and rich styles using a range of grapes. One, the Tinta Negra, can be used across all styles.While Madeira is a dessert wine, it also pairs well with a fresh salad and sushi. It is also a great aperitif.
Justino’s Madeira Madère Cruz is a fine dry from the Portuguese island of Madeira.Tinta Negradominates in this golden colored dessert wine that has flavors of dried fruits, confectioned citrus, apple and walnut. A zippy acidity lifts throughout. If you enjoy Marsala, you will love Madeira!
2. Pedro Ximénez Sherry, Spain
Pedro Ximénez is so named for the grape that goes into the wide range of namesake sweet sherries. The sugary quality is reached naturally through harvesting when grapes are very ripe or by using the passito method. Both approaches mean fruit has the remarkably high levels of sugar necessary for this sweet vino. The special blending system used for sherry production is known as solera. It is pretty complex involving banks of connected casks that allow fractional blending as routine decanting takes place. It may seem like a complicated means of producing a bottle of sherry, but it works – and has done for centuries. A Marsala lover will be impressed.
One of the biggest names in Sherry production is Lustau. This producer’s San Emilio Pedro Ximénez Sherry (Solera Reserva) is made from Passito grapes, ferments in stages to carefully protect sugars, and ages for 12 years. The resulting sherry is close to ebony with hints of figs, raisins, and dates. Silky, gentle, and balanced, this uber-sweet sherry lingers on the finish. Enjoy with the stickiest, sweetest dessert!
3. Commandaria, Cyprus
This dark dessert wine is so dripping with history and tradition if you do not know about it you should for its pedigree alone. For example, there is only one British royal wedding to have ever taken place beyond its shores; that wedding was in 12th century Cyprus between none other than King Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria of Navarre. The illustrious Richard was in Cyprus because of the crusades and Commandaria, a favorite of these sacred soldiers was served at his wedding. Not only that, the ancient recipe from which it has developed dates back to 800 BC when it was made for popular festivals, and Commandariais the world’s oldest named wine that is still being produced. Modern-day Commandaria is made from indigenous grapes Xinisteri and Mavro in Cyprus’ Troodos mountain foothills. Its rich, sweet character is on par with Marsala so get your tasting glass ready.
One of the leading wineries in Cyprus is Tsiakkas and their Commandaria a beautiful and refined example of this wine. Handpicked grapes spend ten days drying in the sun for sugar concentration and aging takes place over five years in French and American oak for deeper flavors. The nose is rich with Mediterranean citrus, bergamot, and the finish has nutty caramel tones. Sweetness and acidity are masterfully balanced making this Commandaria ideal for pairing with blue cheese and super dark chocolate cake.
4. Amontillado Sherry
Not only is Amontillado sherry a solid alternative to Marsala wine, but it is also a feast day for vino geeks who love goings-on in the winery. Amontillado undergoes lengthy biological aging under a thick layer of flor or yeasts. These yeasts consume alcohol in the wine and oxygen from the atmosphere making carbon dioxide and an element called acetaldehyde. This five-syllabled beauty is what gives a biologically aged sherry its singular aromas and flavors. Amontillado starts out as Manzanilla or Fino. Its aging process, which also includes a prolonged period oxidizing through porous oak, and a journey through the solera system, turn it into an Amontillado. The result is a dark-hued sherry with a rich, nutty, dry character, smooth elegance, refined structure, and high alcohol content.
A reliable Amontillado is Jalifa Amontillado Rare Old Dry Solera Especial from renowned sherry merchant Bodegas Williams & Humbert. It is aged for thirty years using a combination of the flor and oxidative methods, creating a sherry in which nature plays a big part. Made from the Palomino grape to the eye it is gold and amber, while the nose displays complex and intense notes of dried fruits in a full-bodied mouth. Brilliant acidity and a long, expressive finish wind it up. With its confidence and regal intensity, this Amontillado is a good choice to fill in for Marsala. Serve as an aperitif or with ham, seafood, and good cheese.
If you love Marsala, you will enjoy exploring these fine alternatives. Just make sure you have a delicious sweet to deepen the pleasure.