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Vergine Marsala Riserva - 1988

Marco De Bartoli

4.5 / 5.0

Italy » Sicilia » Marsala DOC
white still, dry
37 EUR, 94 EUR
1 bottles
Marco De Bartoli Vergine Marsala Riserva 1988

According to the winemaker, the Marsala Vergine ("Virgin") Riserva 1988 is undoubtedly the most controversial reserve ever crafted by Marco De Bartoli, embodying the inner contradictions typical of Sicilian culture. In 1988, Marco took on the challenge of this Marsala style, which he often set aside because, in his vision, the only wine deserving of the "virgin" attribute was his Vecchio Samperi, made without any fortification or sweetening. "Marsala Vergine" refers to a specific style of Marsala characterized by the absence of any added sweeteners or caramel, resulting in a dry wine that highlights the natural qualities of the grape and terroir. Today, Marco’s children—Renato, Sebastiano, and Giuseppina—have decided to share this unique wine. Traditional and modern at the same time, it is the fruit of Marco's tireless experimentation over the years.

This wine is 100% Grillo, from vines aged between 20 and 40 years, grown in the Samperi district of Marsala, Western Sicily. The vines are cultivated using the single Guyot system, with a planting density of 3,500 plants per hectare on limestone, sandy loam soil. The grapes were harvested manually at the end of September, with clusters placed in small cases to ensure they remained intact.

The winemaking process involved manual grape selection, soft pressing, natural decantation, and traditional fermentation in oak and chestnut vats at room temperature. A portion of the must was fortified in 1988 with acquavite (brandy) made from the same grapes. The wine was then aged for over 30 years in chestnut and oak vats of different sizes before being bottled in January 2019. Only 1,500 bottles were produced, making this a truly rare vintage.

Marco de Bartoli played a pivotal role in changing the perception of Marsala wine. At a time when the region was known for producing poor-quality wines, Marco's commitment to quality and tradition helped restore Marsala's reputation. His innovative approach and dedication to showcasing the potential of the Grillo grape have left a lasting legacy in the world of winemaking. This Marsala Vergine Riserva 1988 is a testament to his vision and craftsmanship, embodying the rich history and evolving traditions of the Marsala region.


4.5 / 5.0500 ml@Wix Kyiv Office · Il Pirata Vol. 4

I genuinely don't know how to rate this wine. This is my first dry Marsala and the only vintage of Vergine Marsala Riserva made by Marco and bottled by his children.

It has a wonderful bouquet of treacle, mushrooms, damp cellar, honey, and dried apricot. Elegant, meditative, endless, and simply delicious. Wonderful value for money.

Wine #6 on Il Pirata Vol. 4 event.

Marco De Bartoli

Marco de Bartoli is a name synonymous with innovation and reverence in Sicilian winemaking, particularly noted for reviving the island's traditional and noble wine, Marsala. Born into a family of esteemed Marsala producers, Marco chose a path less traveled in the late 20th century. He focused on quality and traditional methods at a time when Marsala's reputation was dwindling due to industrial production. His dedication led to the establishment of his winery in the 1970s in the western part of Sicily near the historic town of Marsala.

De Bartoli championed the use of the indigenous Grillo grape, insisting on meticulous vineyard management and reduced yields to produce concentrated, flavorful grapes. His methods included the revival of the solera system and aging in oak barrels, enhancing the complexity and depth of his wines. His commitment wasn't limited to Marsala; he also produced outstanding still wines, notably from the Zibibbo grape in the tiny island of Pantelleria.

The estate, now run by Marco's children, continues his legacy of artisanal production and strict adherence to quality. It's a standard bearer for organic farming in the region, ensuring that each bottle reflects the pure expression of the land and its history.

Marco's influence extends beyond his own vineyards. He is widely credited with inspiring a new generation of Sicilian winemakers dedicated to quality and authenticity. His vision and passion redefined Sicilian wine, establishing a legacy of excellence and innovation that endures in the region's wine industry today. His commitment to tradition, combined with a willingness to innovate, has made Marco de Bartoli's name synonymous with the finest wines of Sicily.