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As opposed to the almost apparent dictum, ‘marsala’ here in no way refers to the conglomeration of spices used to make sauces or curries across Asia. Instead, the word ‘Marsala’ here refers to one of the most renowned towns in the heart of Sicily, of the same name, where this wine is authentically made. We would go so far as to say that if it isn’t Sicilian, it is not desirable! Read this article to learn all you need to know about marsala wine.

Marsala Wine Colors

A lot of parameters go into defining the boundaries of taste and texture of Marsala wine. A more significant part of it is mainly determined by the type of grape used and the amount of sugar it contains. 

Here is a brief overview of the types of Marsala Wine. 

Oro 

Distinguished by a distinct gold color, Oro Marsala wine, as obvious, is made from white grapes. Ideally, it has a subtle aftertaste of raisins, hazelnut, and licorice. In some cases, having a strong aftertaste of vanilla can also be experienced!

Rubino  

If the previous Marsala wine is analogous to gold, this is quite metaphorically like a ruby, mainly because of its distinct ruby red color. As evident, the distinct red color originates from its primary constituents, red grapes of Sicily.

As we know, a significant distinction between wine made from red and white grapes is the difference in the tannic flavor. Rubino Marsala wine has a rather intense, fruity, yet majorly different tonic flavor to it. For a whole list of the best grapes for making wine, check out “Best Grapes for Making Wine“.

Ambra

It is evident that, at this juncture, we are merely playing a game of colors. It does not take rocket science to infer that the distinguishing factor of this would be its presenting amber yellow color. The reason behind its color is most likely due to the occasional adding of almonds or other nuts to make Ambra Marsala wine

Interested in enjoying wine tasting how it should be done, we have a list of the most popular wine festivals around the world, check out “10 Best International Wine Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss” for more.

Marsala Wine Taste 

It is a prevalent misconception that fortified wine is necessarily sweet. Marsala wine varies across a broad spectrum of flavors, wherein it ranges anywhere between dry-sweet to mildly bitter but savory. As mentioned earlier, the amount of sugar added while making this wine not only determines the taste but also goes a long way in estimating fortification. Not too sure what fortified wine is? Take a look at “What is Fortified Wine?” for more info.  

How to Use Marsala Wine

Despite its initial reputation as a fortified beverage, Marsala wine has had rather obnoxious reviews about its usage solely as a beverage. However, it has built a reputation of being a precursor to a variety of sauces. Its popularity as a dessert wine is increasing by the day! 

Cuisine 

Typically, Marsala wine that has not aged for a long duration of time is used to make sauces. The sauces are further intricated with a variety of spices. The sauces are typically used to make or add into gravies containing turkey dishes, or beef in many cases. 

For the light-hearted, chicken or veal Marsala serves as a delicacy. The usage of Marsala wine in recipes is as customizable as the way it is drunk. 

Here are a few dishes using Marsala wine that are worth relishing! 

  • Pigeons on bruschetta with chanterelles
  • Pork chops with glazed marsala sauce
  • Soft chocolate cake, or cakes of any kind for that matter
  • Tiramisu- must try!
  • Ricotta cheesecake- our pick!

Sweet or Dry- with Food that You Grill or Fry

Culinary experts have segregated Marsala broadly into Sweet and Dry types. Wherein there is an absence of a fine line between the sauces you want to make which you will dine. In other words, there isn’t a bounded sphere with the kind of Marsala you use to make a dish.

However, there are specific dishes that mainly taste well with a special sauce. In other words, there is a wine that goes well with a dish, and those would be as follows. 

  • Dry Marsala– goes well with savory dishes, mushrooms, turkey, veal, but mostly tenderloin. 
  • Sweet Marsala– suitable for most desserts, but occasionally with chicken or pork. 

Take a look as well to “The Most Popular Sweet Wines” for a list of sweeter wine options to try.

Beverage 

As a beverage, it is essential to cool the Marsala wine to get a distinct, crisp flavor. It is not prevalent as a beverage like it was decades ago, but the following may be the drink you are looking for!

  • Vito Curatolo Arini Marsala- Recognized as a highly sought after drink across the globe. The Vito Curatolo Arini Marsala has won several accolades throughout its inception and production. The best part about this wine is that it is ubiquitous. Scouting for it would not be a hassle (rather, wood(house) won’t be as big an issue as this pun itself)!
  • Florio Sweet Marsala– one of the most sought after post-dinner wine, the Florio Sweet Marsala, despite its nomenclature, does not have as abrasive a sweet flavor as its counterparts, but instead, is rather subtle, yet delicate. Just like the wine mentioned above, this too is commonly found, and hence, easily can be relished. 

A repertoire of beverages

Apart from the beverages that have already been mentioned. Marsala wine is specifically used in a lot of other drinks. Some of which we are indicating here: 

  • A particular set of grapes called Riddu (or Grillo) grapes, native to Italy, are blended, and a punch is made between that and Marsala wine, and the drink is called ‘Mistella’, which is considered a local favorite.
  • Mosto Cotto” literally translates to “cooked must”. Merely referring to a drink where these grapes are cooked and made into a cocktail. This drink is further mixed with Ambra Marsala.
  • Regional grapes are used to make fortified drinks and at times, to increase the tannin content of Marsala. 

Substitutes for Marsala Wine

Despite its pervasive nature, Marsala wine is still not entirely accessible to a lot of people. Besides, the human nature of general inquisitiveness makes us wonder if there is any substitute at all. 

The closest that we have got to find a substitute for Marsala was Madeira. The reason behind it would be a very similar taste profile. Besides, if you would want to make an original drink similar to either of these, what we recommend you to do is simmer wine and brandy in a healthy ratio of 2:1, with a decent amount of brown sugar, and a dash of salt. 

Ever thought of making wine at home? Take a look at “How To Make Wine At Home” for full info on steps to making your first wine bottle.


As we can see, Marsala wine is such a versatile element, both in the world of beverages and cuisine. We have been acquainted with how variety is the spice of life, as much as we are now familiar with Marsala wine- history, uses, prevalence, and more. 

Thank you for reading with us today! Be sure to also check out “Most Common Fruity Wines” or “Best Kind of Wine for Non-Wine Drinkers” for options on wines either if you’re just getting used to tastes or if you’re looking for something different to add to your palate. Check them out!

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram and   Pinterest for daily wine content!

Bottoms up! We’ll uncork ya later!! 🍷

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