Italian Roses, that's what’s for dinner. And before you go there let me just say yes these are all from the importer Winebow. They sent me a selection of Italian roses, and no one else did so I'm tasting them together and reporting on them as a package. Good on Winebow you might say.
I received great fact sheets with each of these wines, which come from different regions in Italy, and are produced with different grape varieties, attesting to the diversity that has blossomed in the Italian Rose market. That was probably due at least in part to Winebow's work, pushing their producers to add roses to their line-up, though in one case, the seriously good Leone de Castris, that was not needed since their Rose dates from 1943!
Be that as it may, what I also found fascinating during this tasting was being able to go back and compare the sugar and acid levels of the wines after having tasted them. Sweetness and perceived sweetness are two vastly different things and it was really remarkable to better understand how my palate perceived sweetness with the help of these numbers.
I know you don't care about that. That’s crazy talk about the science of taste, and you just want to know what tastes good. I get that. The truth of the matter is that with the exception of the Mastroberardino and to a certain extent the Leone de Castris this set of wines was a bit on the sweet side for my palate. There was still a lot to like, even more if you liked sweeter styles of Rose, but this reflects the overall state of the rose market. After many years veering to the drier end of the spectrum it seems as though that end is fairly well saturated and people are now more comfortable going after the "Red Blend" drinker with value priced offerings that carry a little sweetness.
I certainly can live with that. There are plenty of Roses in my wheelhouse, and with wine consumption plummeting in Italy it's only logical that the Italians would look for an outlet for some of their juice. A smart importer can certainly help guide that production and while I would have liked to see a drier set of wine on the whole, I'm not going to be able to buy a years production so let's not come down on these folks too hard for producing wines that have distinct market appeal. Take a look at my reviews and see if anything sounds like it's going to ring your bell. If so, give it a whirl, the beauty of all of those wines is that they are fairly priced. Sort of goes with the turf.
2013 Tasca Regaleali Le Rose Nerello Mascalese Sicily 12% $15
100% Nerello Mascalese
3.4g/l Residual Sugar
7.0 g/ l acidity
Floral on the nose and high-toned with pretty details of red fruit, sod, and fresh picked mouton herbs. This is lovely, with enough acid to be bright and juicy but not so much as to tire the palate. there's fine fruit here, a bit subtle perhaps but nicely framed with mineral and very fine herbal shading. The finish is real excellent offering a pop to the raspberry fruit followed by lingering mineral and pink grapefruit pith accents along with a hint of pink peppercorn and floral notes. Subtle, seductive, and delicious in a light, elegant style. 88pts
2013 Leone de Castris Five Roses Rose Pulia 12.5% $17
90% Negro Amaro 10% Malvasia Nera
4.8g/l Residual Sugar
6.0 g/ l acidity
Earthy with a slight baked edge to the nose which features lots of herb and pork fat aromas along with a nice base of candied strawberry fruit. in the mouth this has plenty of acid but also a nice round blanket of fruit which wraps nicely around the acid spine. Showing some complexity there's hints of herbs, licorice and earth on the plate along with strawberry and lightly peachy fruit all supported by the acids and gentle tannins. The fish is a bit short, with red cherry fruit and the acid lingering. perhaps a touch rustic but really quite attractive with intensity and complexity. 88pts
2013 Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa Campania 12.5% $20
3.0g/l Residual Sugar
6.4 g/ l acidity
Very fruity on the nose with lots of candied raspberry underlain with an ashy base note. Juicy and bright and downright tart on entry, tho is quite electric int he mouth with faint red cherry and amarena cherry fruit and a finish that blazes with acidity. There's a subtle bitterness on the front hat recalls bitter cherries, making this the trifecta of cherry fruit. No real tannin to speak of, this is just a laser of a wine. Find something fatty and hide your children. 88pts
2013 Valle Reale Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 12.5% $15
100% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
3.0g/l Residual Sugar
6.5 g/ l acidity
Tight, slightly herbal and earthy on the nose with a little candied apple notion and hints of cotton candy. Vaguely sweet on first taste then the vibrant acids kick in and layer on subtle orange, tart strawberry and almost minty herbal notes that fill the mouth. Theres more of a citrus tinge to the finish, which is a bit short but shows lovely intensity up front and a very clean, refreshing acid driven finale. There's a lingering mineral note here as well which is the perfect contrast to the fresh, tart fruit on the palate. Lovely, fun and fresh, if just barely on the sweet side. 86pts
2013 Vitiano Rosato Umbria 12.3% $13
30% sangiovese, 30% merlot, 305 cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Aleatico
4.0g/l Residual Sugar
5.7 g/ l acidity
Smells kind of funky with sweet, herbal and mossy covered red fruit under damp tarp and leather. Sort of like mixing cherry and root beer candy! A touch sweet, supple and smooth one entry. there's a much nice flavor profile in the mouth here than on the nose, though this is too sweet for my palate the significant acidity does keep it lively and supports the sour cherry and wild raspberry fruit in the mouth. Gaining some licorice and herb nuance on the backend, this evaporates on the modest finish. Just what many people are in love with, sweet,fruity, no finish. not for me but this will make many people very happy. 84pts
2013 Librandi Ciro Rosato Calabria 13% $12
8g/l Residual Sugar
5.3 g/ Acidy
A bit leathery and meaty on the nose with sweet, candied raspberry fruit that has an almost earthy, fresh mushrooms edge to it. Noticeably sweet one entry, this also is fairly tannic making it an oddball of a rose. The fruit is simple with plummy and red cherry flavors but there is not much nuance to be found. the combination of astringency and sweetness is an odd one and while this would work well with BBQ or grilled meats it's not my cup of tea. The finish is dry and fairly tannic. 82pts