Best buys | Berry Bros & Rudd Marsala Vergine Riserva 1988

Best buys

Berry Bros & Rudd Marsala Vergine Riserva 1988

I’ve been getting a fair amount of flak recently - can you BELIEVE it? - for recommending wines that are too cheap so this bottle at £62 for 50cl should satisfy those of you who are itching to splash the cash

Mind you even I’d be tempted*. It’s the most extraordinary marsala I’ve ever tasted - made by the legendary Sicilian producer Marco di Bartoli but under the Berry Bros & Rudd label rather than his own name which would have made it even more expensive.

You can smell the wine on drawing the cork. There’s an explosion of dried fruit aromas - raisins, figs, dried orange - especially clementine - and a touch of roasted almonds - it changes with every sip. Most people think of marsala as sweet but this is super-dry with a glorious acidity. Think a very old madeira but less woody.

'Vergine', for those who are wondering, is a fortified wine "left unadulterated and pure by the lack of any added mistella (mix) of cooked must" according to the helpful notes on the BBR website.

It’s the perfect present for the person who has too much wine (in other words, most of the wine trade.) Just a small bottle with which to escape the throng and savour privately over Christmas. Maybe with a little nibble of cheese or some biscotti but it’s just lovely on its own.

* Disclosure. That means they sent it to me as a sample, cunningly knowing I wouldn't be able to resist writing about it. You wouldn't either.

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