Grillo wines: history and characteristics of the excellent Sicilian grape

Grillo is one of the best known and most characteristic varieties of Sicilian grape, despite having a rather young history, according to the few existent sources. There are those who argue that it is a typically indigenous quality, born and raised on the island, but there are those who believe it is originally from Puglia, then imported and valued in Sicily. It is a fairly widespread belief, however, that as a vine it dates back at most a few centuries ago.

The variety of Grillo is also known with the synonym “Riddu”. Very important, if not essential, to produce Marsala DOC, often combined with Inzolia and Catarratto. One numerical data makes us understand the importance of this vine for Sicily: between the 30s and 40s of the twentieth century, in fact, about 60% of the vineyard area in Sicily was cultivated with the Grillo (or Riddu) variety. The Grillo variety comes from a particular crossing, that of the autochthonous varieties of Catarratto and Zibibbo: the experiment, which was then a winning result judging by its massive production, was carried out by baron Antonio Amendola, an agronomist originally from Favara, in the Agrigento area.

Wines produced with Grillo grapes can be divided into two large “strands”: the white ones, fresh and drinkable, thanks to the vinification in steel without oxygen; the more aromatic ones, with a generally higher alcohol content, due to the maceration of the skins in the must.

The characteristics of the vine

Grillo is a medium-leaved vine, usually orbicular in shape, with medium-large and spheroidal-shaped berries. The grains are characterized by a pruinose, very thick and consistent yellow skin, with shades that tend to green. The clusters are rather compact, cylindrical in shape.

Grillo is a wine that has almost total dominance over the production of white wines in the province of Trapani, in the western part of Sicily. The reason is clear: it is in fact a vine that performs very well, has no particular contraindications in relation to the climate, and allows the production of fragrant wines, with an intense and round flavor; it is an excellent grape quality also for making Marsala.

Color and flavor

From the Grillo grape we obtain a wine with a very clear and bright straw yellow color, which can also take on golden reflections, with very bright peaks. It is a wine with an intense aroma and great organoleptic depth, which is well perceived on the nose. The wines produced with this grape variety are aromatic, persistent and are distinguished by fruity characters and tones tending to floral.

  • the color of the Grillo wine is very clear and bright straw yellow, tending to golden
  • it is immediately distinguished by its intense and pleasant smell
  • the taste is typically fresh with clear references to fruit, especially citrus fruits and flowers typical of Sicily, such as yellow flowers and orange blossom

The wine produced from the Grillo grape is ideal when accompanied with fish and seafood dishes, but also with white meats and duck. It goes best with full-bodied first courses, especially risottos, but also with aromatic and clearly oriental dishes, such as those of Thai cuisine. It can also be used for shellfish-based aperitifs.

Prices of Grillo wines

In our wine shop we offer very fine Grillo wines. We always like to meet the taste of our clientele and provide the highest quality standard in wines. It is for this reason that in our wine shop you can find thick labels, such as the Marsala Superiore wine from the De Bartoli winery, at a price of 55.50 euros per bottle, or the Vecchio Samperi wine also from the De Bartoli winery, at price of 48.50 euros. We also have fine Grillo wines but at more popular prices, such as the Targa Marsala wine produced by the Florio winery (15.00 euros) and the Mozia wine from the Tasca D’Almerita winery (21.00 euros).