Grillo and Zibibbo as spoken by Antonino Barraco (and bonus track)

antonino barraco marsala grillo zibibboAbove: who better to “speak” Zibibbo and Grillo than winemaker and grape grower Antonino Barraco? He and I connected at the Vini Veri fair last month in Cerea (Verona province).

Here’s the latest installment of the Italian Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project: Grillo and Zibibbo as pronounced by Antonino Barraco (a super cool dude, whom I met for the first time this year at Vini Veri).

While the pronunciation of Grillo (GREEL-loh) is relatively straightforward, the scansion of Zibibbo is not as intuitive as some may think.

In Italian grammar, words that come from Arabic (like Zibibbo) are pronounced with a stress on the first syllable — even when there is a stress on the syllable that follows.

Zibibbo, which comes from the Arabic zabib, is an example of this. Note how Antonino gives equal stress to the first and second syllable in his scansion.

Zabib means dried grape or raisin in Arabic. And it’s one of the many words that found their way into Sicilian during the height of Arabic culture in the Middle Ages, when, for example, Arabic mathematicians and philosophers were welcomed at the court of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in Palermo.

As a bonus track, I’ve included Antonino’s pronunciation of zbib, the Sicilian dialectal inflection of zabib.

Thanks again, Antonino!

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