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Grillo is a Sicilian white grape variety known for its role in the island's fortified Marsala wines. It is still widely planted on Sicily and is now used mostly in still white wines, both varietal and blended. Grillo, when made to a high standard, produces a fresh, light white wine with nutty, fruit-driven flavors such as lemon and apple. The origins of Grillo are debated, with some believing it is native to Sicily and others suggesting it was brought to the island from southern Italy. Grillo is well-suited to the hot, dry Sicilian climate and its high sugar levels and ease of oxidation make it a good option for fortification. However, the variety has seen a decline in plantings in the 20th century due to the popularity of Catarratto. Nevertheless, Sicilian producers are now revisiting and replanting Grillo as focus shifts from quantity to quality. Grillo is becoming a viable contender for the quintessential Italian table white wine, competing with Soave, Gavi, and IGT Pinot Grigio for this title.
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