Marsala celebrates 50th anniversary of DOC award

Sicilian wine reinvents itself as cocktail

Marsala celebrates 50th anniversary of DOC award

Rome, July 11 - Sicily's Marsala wine was set to mark the 50th anniversary Friday of its becoming the first Italian wine to garner the coveted DOC label. The landmark has been made sweeter by its recent reincarnation as a trendy cocktail. "You no longer talk about Marsala as an end-of-the-evening 'digestivo' or, more prosaically, a vital ingredient in regional cooking; young people see it as 'the Sicilian mojito', a cocktail on the rocks with a sprig of basil, a chalice of meditation," enthused the head of major Marsala producer Baglio Curatolo Arini 1875, Roberto Curatolo. Giuseppe Martelli, of the national committee for regionally specific wines, recalled: "the first talk of giving wines a certificate to mark them out as unique terroir products came with the Treaty of Rome in 1957, and the Italian government took the decisive step six years later, in 1963, when Marsala became a DOC, paving the way for Moscati d'Asti, Asti Spumante, and all the powerhouse reds to come, like Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino". The mayor of the western Sicilian town of Marsala, Giulia Adamo, said the anniversary "celebrates not only the long and prestigious tradition of a land devoted to fine wines but also Marsala's ability to keep up with the times". She urged visitors to come to Marsala, which has been named this year's European Wine City by the European Network of Wine Cities (RECEVIN). Adamo recalled the wine's "long and noble history" including its adoption by Risorgimento hero Garibaldi as his favourite pre-battle tonic as he launched his campaign to re-unite Italy - even naming a favourite steed after the wine - and its "rediscovery and reinvention" by English wine merchants and oenologists in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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