Cantine Pellegrino BIP Benjamin Marsala Superiore Riserva Oro Dolce 18%

£23.50 / bottle
£267.90 / case (12+ bottles, 5% off)

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Cantine Pellegrino BIP Benjamin is the new name for the Cantine Pellegrino Marsala Superiore Riserva Oro Dolce. As the name “Oro Dolce” suggests, this is a sweet golden style of this Italian fortified wine made in the north western region of the island of Sicily. The new name pays homage to an English wine merchant called Benjamin, known as Bip. Benjamin arrived in Sicily in 1806 and was instrumental in the growth and development of Marsala wines. 

Unlike other fortified wines, the creation of Marsala can be pinpointed to one man, Englishman, John Woodhouse. Woodhouse was a connoisseur of Port, Madeira and Sherry and when he arrived in the city of Marsala in 1770, it wasn’t long before he thought to try fortifying the local wines. In 1773 he added 8 litres of grape brandy to 400 litre barrels of wine, shipped it to England, and, effectively Marsala was born. Marsala first received Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1969. Today, Cantine Pellegrino, along with their competitors Cantine Florio, are recognised as the two top Marsala producers. Cantine Pellegrino came a little after Woodhouse. It was established in 1880 by Paolo Pellegrino and the company today remains in family ownership (one of only 2 to do so) and is one of only 3 Marsala houses founded in the 19th century that is still in existence.

Cantine Pellegrino BIP Benjamin Marsala Superiore Riserva Oro Dolce DOC is made from grapes sourced from vineyards located around the coastline of Marsala and Petrosino. The vineyards here have clay-limestone, sandy, slightly clayish soils and are situated a few meters above sea level whilst the climate is Mediterranean, mild winters, limited rainfall with very hot and windy summers. It is made from the manually harvested white grape varieties Grillo, Cataratto and Inzolia. During the vinification process, the fermentation process is stopped with the addition of a grape spirit that has been aged for at least 5 years in oak cask (basically a grape brandy). As a Marsala Superiore Riserva it has to be at aged for at least 4 years and the Cantine Pellegrino BIP Benjamin Marsala Superiore Riserva is aged for over 4 years in 80 hl and 50 hl oak barrels, with at least 6 months in barriques.

This is currently the 2013 vintage.

There are quite a few different style of Marsala and they vary in terms of sweetness (from sweet through to dry), in terms of ageing (some in a system similar to the Solera system in Sherry, some in single casks) and then in the length of times the wines are aged. Most Marsala is white, but some is also made from red grapes. Read more about Marsala here.

Tasting Notes

From Pellegrino:

Colour: deep gold with hues of amber.

Aroma: ethereal, with strong hints of melon and light notes of
honey and loquat.

Palate: sweet and lingering, with evident notes of apricots andstewed pears.

Food Pairing

From Pellegrino:

Traditional: All Sicilian pastries with ricotta and pastry creams.

Unconventional: all aged and spicy cheeses served with pears,
grapes or Chinese lantern berries.

Perfect for making Tiramisu and Zabaglione.

Serve at 12°-14° C.


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