Photo via mammanannapappacacca.
The following are excerpts from tributes that appeared last month in memoriam Marco de Bartoli, considered by many to be the great and “last Mohican” producer of Marsala. De Bartoli left this world last month “to join the ancients,” as Alfonso Cevola put it, at 66 years of age.
As volcanic in temperament as he was passionate about Sicily and its wines, Bartoli broke with the Marsala establishment including his own family in the 1980s to make small production fine Marsala’s with nearly extinct traditional methods and became an inspiration for young Sicilian winemakers.
When I walked around his little winery, quirky, part museum, part abandoned auto lot, I felt there was someone for whom life was a mixing bowl in which all kinds of interesting ingredients were thrown in. But the wine had a real focus. Actually, the wine was just what it was — Marsala — or rather, an education in Marsala and the heights in which that wine could achieve. De Bartoli Marsalas were the Everest of Marsala. It’s really a shame they will fade into history, while we worship Prosecco and Pinot Grigio.
The Great Marco De Bartoli, a man who single handedly tried to revive an entire industry and a forgotten wine based solely on his longing for the sips of supernal old Marsala that he had tried as a child in his family’s bodega, has passed on.