Grillo ("Gree-low") is one of Sicily's high-quality white wine varieties making elegant zesty wines that grow close to beaches in sandy soils.
Grillo Tasting Notes
On the nose, Grillo delivers pithy citrus (lemon, grapefruit) notes leading into herbal-floral subtleties of thyme and flint with a waft of fresh sea air.
Expect good acidity with a moderate body supported by subtle salinity and a taut, dry finish. Grillo is often akin to a riper Sauvignon Blanc or zesty Pinot Grigio.
You'll also find Grillo used in Marsala wines where it adds acidity to Marsala's main grape: Catarratto.
Food Pairing with Grillo
Think of Grillo as a fuller, funky alternative to Pinot Grigio. With that slight herbal note and bright acidity, all seafood, vegetable dishes, and pasta will do well.
Where Does Grillo Come From?
Grillo is a classic grape of Sicily that lost favor during the overblown 1950s and 1960s because of its low productivity. Still, the vines exist, primarily on the western side of Sicily in the Marsala and adjacent zones.
What makes Grillo special is its surprising acidity despite growing in low elevations in a hot, arid climate. It performs well in sandy soils where it exudes freshness.
Winemakers often use a reductive (low oxygen) winemaking method because it helps preserve the wine's freshness and floral-fruit aromatics (like grapefruit or passion fruit).