Grillo (also known as Riddu) is a white wine grape varietal with origins in Sicily - Italy. Where it is used to produce outstanding Marsala wines. Grillo has such a long history, records show it being used in popular Roman wines - a favourite of Julius Caesar, the sweet, luscious Mamertino wine of Messina.
The grape is typically grown on bush-trained vines - which can withstand high temperatures and dry conditions, which Sicily has in abundant quantities. When ripe, the grape is capable of reaching fairly high sugar levels, which is a major benefit being the primary grape used in the production of Marsala. Grillo can also produce a full-bodied wines, though often blended with the more aromatic Inzolia grape and more recently Chardonnay.

 

Grillo - a natural crossing of Catarratto and Zibibbo - declined slightly in the late 1990's, being replaced by the more vigorous Catarratto, Sicily’s most popular white wine varietal. As of 2015 - Grillo is believed to have around 6300 hectares of planted vines, with nearly 100% planted in Sicily. Plantings have rebounded lately as the popularity of dry white table wines has increased over the past twenty years or so, and growers and consumers have found that Grillo can make interesting, characterful wines. Grillo can produce modern, charming, full-flavoured wines of quality, despite lacking the intense and distinctive aromas of other white varietals that have spurred recent winemaker interest, like Inzolia.
Although this grape has had a long association with Marsala, in recent years it has become widely used in such DOP wines as; Monreale (province of Palermo) - Alcamo (provinces of Palermo and Trapani) - Contea di Sclafani (provinces of Agrigento and Palermo) - Delia Nivolelli (province of Trapani). 100% Grillo IGP wines are also produced, although blending with Chardonnay is also growing. Grillo wines pair well with seafood, grilled vegetables and salads, so the next time you are out having a light summer meal - ask for Grillo and have a taste of Sicilian sunshine - enjoy.