After leaving the fish market, we made our way to Cantine Florio.  Dating back to 1833, Florio has been an important institution in Marsala.  The history of the Florio family is fascinating; it all started with a pharmacy that sold “medicinal potions”.  Among the many business ventures of the Florio dynasty, this one evolved into winemaking, specifically Marsala.  Soon after 1833, Florio became the world’s top producer of Marsala At Florio, we enjoyed a wonderful tour of the cantina, complete with the history of the Florio family, how Marsala wine is made, and how the cantina narrowly survived World War II bombings.

This cantina is massive; it has to be as it houses enormous great casks!  In fact, they have casks of all sizes and dates, some of which are stamped as early as 1938.  After walking among the giants, we were then led through a tasting of 4 wines demonstrating the breadth and diversity of their products, each matched with a suggested food pairing.  Marsala DOC wine is made from Grillo and Catarratto grapes.

We started with Terre Arse, a Marsala that has been aged for at least eight years.  Next we tasted Irmana Grillo, a light white, which was then followed by Lavico, a minerally red made from Nerello Mascalese grapes harvested near Mt Etna. We finished with a traditional Marsala wine called Targa Riserva.  All were very different from each other yet equally delicious.  After our tasting, we browsed their beautiful gift shop and perhaps some of us made a few purchases!