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  • Writer's pictureMolly Jean

A Grape Highlight: Grillo

This grape highlight is going to be a little different than the others. Typically within these posts, I sing the praises of a grape varietal and attempt to persuade you to try the wine it creates. In doing so, I give you recommendations for wine producers and suggest food pairings to accompany the wine. Unfortunately, this will not be the case for the mouth puckering Grillo (Gree-lo).

This grape comes from Italy's third largest wine producer, Sicily. The grape thrives in the hot weather, which is likely a driving force behind the mass production of the grape. Thus, resulting in quantity over quality.

In 2016, Wine Enthusiast claimed this wine varietal was taking off in the US... I don't know about you, but I had no idea about this wine. Like at all, let alone for the past four years. Not that we were or are missing out on anything.

The wine does not have a distinct smell and because of that the aromas trick your mind into thinking it is something it isn't. In a blind taste test I would likely get this wine confused with Pinot Grigio. But if I smell it long enough it reminds me of a Sauvignon Blanc or even a Zibibbo. Similarly this wine has lemon-lime flavors and alternatively is very full bodied. So makes your tongue swell. Woof.

You may also notice the color of the wine is a little funky, the liquid appears to be tinted green. Which can indicate it is a little too young and can be a factor in the eye watering sharpness of the taste.

This is the only wine I have tried of this varietal, so it very well could just be this bottle. Or it could be this grape is not suitable for my palate..., or my husband's, or my sister-in-law's, or my wine idol - Elizabeth Schneider's. She finds this varietal reminiscent of "an unimpressive low-quality Pinot Grigio" and I would agree.

Perhaps the problem is this wine never should have been vinified as a single varietal. This grape traditionally is used as a primary blending grape in Marsala, a fortified wine that is similar to a Sherry. For most of us that means: cooking wine.

As you know I am an advocate for trying new wines, but if you skip this varietal I wouldn't give you a hard time about it. I do not however think this grape is indicative of the quality of Stemmari Wines. I simply do not enjoy the taste of the juice this grape produces.

If you do happen to brave the varietal and have a recommendation, let me know. Or if you had a similar experience, I would love to hear all about that too. Comment below or reach out to me on The Wine Tails Facebook page. While you are there, don't forget to join the #newwinechallenge Facebook group.


Thank you to Wine for Normal People, Wine Folly and the Wine Enthusiast for providing me with additional knowledge on this grape varietal. You always come in handy for the Grape Highlight. It is also fun to see how much the articles differ on this grape. Until next time, cheers!

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