OUR NATURE

THE ORIGINS OF GRILLO

Gorghi Tondi destined to Grillo grape nearly a half (almost 40%) of its vineyards, partly located within the WWF Nature Reserve Lake Preola and Gorghi Tondi, and partly overlooking the sea, where the high day-night temperature range, the “marine aerosol” action of the sea breeze and the changing climatic conditions are favorable to the excellent quality and the many variations of the wines made with this variety. 

Freshness, aromatic intensity, minerality and flavor, these are the trademark of Grillo at Gorghi Tondi estate, an heritage of a unique territory, magically enhanced by an ancient and artisanal production knowledge. For Gorghi Tondi, Grillo is the emblematic grape of an entire wine production, very versatile and able to give life to elegant and multifaceted wines: from the sparkling version of Palmarès Brut, to the still and “crisp” Coste a Preola, up to the expression of the “old” vineyard in Kheirè, our cru. Furthermore, from this same variety, Gorghi Tondi produces two unique wines in the regional wine making scene. Grillodoro is the only Sicilian Noble rot wine, obtained from a late harvest of overripe grapes attacked by Botrytis Cinerea, a fungus which forms spontaneously in the vineyard overlooking the sea, and Gilletto, a wine without added sulfites, made using indigenous yeasts for the fermentation and the absence of sulfur dioxide in all production phases, expressing the purity of Grillo grape. Five different interpretations of the same, extraordinary one-grape-show for an exciting experience, full of suggestions that translate the most intense flavors and aromas of an authentic Sicily into the glass. Grillo is therefore the symbol of Gorghi Tondi, and considered
the very soul of its production philosophy.

A bit of history

After years of long and passionate research, a few years ago the experts finally found an answer: Grillo is a relatively recent cross between two Sicilian native varieties, Cattarratto and Zibibbo, also know as Muscat of Alexandria.

A white Catarratto seed artificially fertilized with Zibibbo during the 1869 flowering in my Piana dei Peri vineyard near Favara; harvested on August 27th of the same year; sown in a container on March 3rd 1870 and sprouted on the 20th of May.

Thus, reads the diary of Baron Antonino Mendola, agronomist, ampelographer and producer of marsala wine, as well as father, in all respects, of the Grillo variety, who continues:

In 1871, having observed a plant in container no. 105 to be coming up better than all the others with vigorous and colourful leaves, I took a small shoot and in February 1872 I grafted it onto a sturdy rootstock of black Inzolia, in order to hasten the fruiting, and so I had the pleasure of tasting the first bunches of grapes in the fall of 1874.

The history of Grillo is thus intertwined with that of marsala wine, which the Baron tried to make more aromatic. A great success, which benefited the new variety, becoming one of the favorite grapes for the production of the famous Sicilian fortified wine, and remained so for most of the 20th century. However, at the end of the 1900s, the decline of marsala wine led to a drastic reduction in the hectares planted with Grillo. Today, also thanks to some enlightened producers, this noble grape has found the consensus of critics and consumers.

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