Grillo, pronounced Gree-lo, in Italian means cricket …yes, like the insect but has nothing to do with it!
A crossing, hailing from Sicily, between Catarratto and Moscato di Alessandria (Zibibbo) grapes, it was once used exclusively in Marsala production.
Unfortunately, its planting declined in the 20th century due to Sicily's other great white contender, Catarratto, which normally offers higher yields and became preferred choice to Marsala that was nearly abandoned. Until 1990 when winemakers started improving vinicultural techniques, revisiting the plantation of Grillo and vinifying the variety on its own as a dry white wine.
Grillo's grapes are suitable to the dry and hot Sicilian climate, they can thrive in the heat without becoming too cooked or jammy. They turn out in crisp and savoury wines, depending on the site of production, some in lighter styles while some more structured thanks to lees contact and barrel aging.
Tasca d’Almerita produces three types of different Grillos, with different styles and tasting notes according to the place of production.
Grillo - Cavallo delle Fate (The Cricket - the fairies’ horse)
Produced in Regaleali Estate, right in the centre of Sicily, on thriving green hills at 480 mt above sea level, its grapes are harvested at a different time in order to retain freshness and lend structure making the wine suitable for bottle ageing.
The various aromas, from crisp citrus to tangy apricots and tropical fruits, together with a backbone of nice minerality, give a wine an elegant finish.
In Regaleali we serve it with a typical Sicilian appetizer...
Pane & Panelle
Chickpeas fritters in a white bap, typical street food of Palermo with big juicy Sicilian olives in a marinated and crunchy piece of celery and carrots.
Panelle & Sicilian olives are the perfect match to the intense, almost zesty, scent of the wine.
The well-structured, bright and fresh Grillo cuts through the power of the salty panelle and green olives, balancing these opposing tastes in a pleasing way, much like the image of fairies using crickets as their own horses, this unexpected pairing will bring you a sigh of pleasure!
This Grillo comes from Mozia, an island with Phoenician origins, located in the westerly part of Sicily. Cultivated on eight hectares at only 7 mt above sea level, the sandy terroir gives mineral and saline notes to the wine straightaway to the glass, showing acidity, structure with lime and white pepper notes.
Enjoy a glass with...
Risotto with ink-squid
Despite its name and the effect at first sight, this is considered a real delicacy!
For some, its tasting can be an impressive experience due its unconventional appearance and black colour.
The black substance comes from the ink sack of squid. The animal releases it as a defence mechanism to frighten off predators. The biggest surprise about it is that isn’t fishy at all, but rich in flavour and umami-packed; a prized cooking ingredient, adding a striking black colour and a mild salty flavour.
The neutral and delicate flavour of the ink squid can be enhanced by the savouriness of the white Grillo, a unique expression of the indigenous Sicilian grape variety that grows in the sandy soil of the island, showing acidity, structure and salty notes.
Grillo Sallier de la Tour
This Grillo is interpreted by Sallier de la Tour, located in the Monreale DOC, with a modern twist, resulting in a fresh, aromatic and pleasantly drinkable wine. Yellow with greenish reflections, on the nose offers notes of citrus, sage and green apple. On the palate it is a fresh wine with a lingering aftertaste that expresses itself with elegance and balance.
It matches perfectly with...
Lovers would say that sea urchin tastes like a heavenly kiss form the ocean, some others just remember that time when they stepped on this sea devil’s and it hurt like the dickens.
While it may seem strange to eat the spiny and seemingly-dangerous sea creature, sea urchin has been creating a lot of buzz lately, becoming one of the most appreciated and wanted delicacies in many parts of the world.
They have a spherical shape, typically small and the body is covered with a spiny shell: this is what got them called sea hedgehogs in past times.
The urchin’s… gonads, are its only edible part. When you open the shelf, there should be an orangey fivefold symmetry pieces, take a spoon to scoop out this goodie.
Although it looks slimy, its texture is pleasantly smooth and creamy. On the palate is wet and custard-like, and the flavour is a kick of umami on the tongue, with a subtle combination of briny ocean and velvety feeling.
The notes of citrus, sage and green apple of the Grillo goes well with the umami notes and creamy texture of the sea urchin. On the palate, it is very fresh and persistent, with excellent drinkability and after flavours that wash away the creaminess of the spiny animal.