Rosato Wines from Southern Italy for Late-Summer Sipping

Italian Wine for september – under $20

Paolo Cali, “Osa!” Frappato Rosato Sicilia Terre Siciliane IGT 2014 (about $16)

Paolo Cali’s eponymous Paolo Cali Winery is located a short distance north of the town of Vittoria in southeastern Sicily. This is in the heart of the Cerasuolo di Vittoria wine-growing area which is Sicily’s only DOCG appellation.

Although the Cali family has owned land in this area for centuries, the Paolo Cali winery only dates back to 2011 when Paolo acquired some vineyard property from his father. He now has 38 acres under vine and grows primarily Frappato and Nero d’Avola, varieties that have been cultivated here for thousands of years dating back to when the area was colonized by the ancient Greeks.

The Cali vineyards are organically farmed. In this classic Mediterranean climate with its hot, dry summers great care is taken to keep the plants healthy and vineyard yields low.

2014 "Osa!" Frappato Rosato Sicilia IGT from Paolo Cali WineryPaolo Cali’s “Osa!” Frappato Rosato (rosato is the Italian name for rosé) is made entirely of Frappato grapes from the estate’s vineyards. The winemaking protocols emphasize a light touch. The late harvest grapes are lightly pressed and then macerated for a relatively short period in contact with the juices.

This rosato has a little more color than some, an intense, lively dark pink color that tends toward blood orange.  It has attractive cherry and strawberry aromas with a hint of spice that follow through in its flavor profile. The wine displays an attractive balance between dryness and fruit-forward flavors.

The Osa! is a serious, focused wine with real depth and concentration and enough acidity to keep everything fresh and appealing. There is a cranberry squeeze-like tartness on the finish that brackets the underlying structure.

The label indicates that it is non un vino tranquillo which translates as “not a still wine”. There is an ever-so-slight effervescent sparkle to the wine that gives the wine an added dimension of crispness in its taste.

It is a rich rosato with more body and structure than many rosè wines and it cries out for food. It is very versatile in this regard - it can be served as an aperitivo, with appetizers and simple fish dishes and even with not-too-sweet desserts.

It is a modestly-priced rosato that rates high on a quality-to-price basis.

italian Wine for september – over $20

San Salvatore, “Vetere” Aglianico Rosato Paestum IGT 2015 (about $24)

This rosato is from the Campania region in southern Italy, a wine region better known for its outstanding white wines like Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo in addition to its red Aglianico wines. The region is also known for its excellent cheeses like Ricotta and Mozzarella di Bufala.

But some inspired producers with a recalibration of spirit and initiative are working diligently to elevate the status of rosato in Campania and this particular rosato is a good example of the high quality achieved by these earnest initiatives.

The San Salvatore winery was established in 1988 by Giuseppe Pagano and is located within Campania’s Cilento National Park not far from Paestum, an ancient Greek-Roman city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The estate’s 55 acres are farmed in accordance with organic and biodynamic principles. The estate has a herd of domestic water buffalo that produce an excellent Mozzarella di Bufala which is why the estate’s wine labels bear sketches of a water buffalo. Everything produced on the estate, from wine to olive oil and Mozzarella, is done with respect for the environment and sustainability.

2015 "Vetere" Aglianico Rosato Paestum IGT from San Salvatore wineryThe estate’s Vetere takes its name from the small, ancient town near one of the estate’s vineyards. It is made entirely of Aglianico, the prized red variety of the Campania region. The grapes are gently pressed, macerated and fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures in order to preserve the aromas and flavors of the Aglianico grapes.

The 2015 Vetere Rosato is pale, salmon-pink in color. It has subtle aromas of apricot, honey and herbs. It has a light frame with a smooth, gently-silky texture marked with soft red berry and honeyed fruit flavors and enough appetizing, fresh acidity to keep everything in balance. With its pale color, subtlety and elegance the Vetere Aglianico Rosato is a southern Italian salute to the rosés of Provence.

This elegant wine is best served as an aperitivo and/or with simple appetizers like fresh fruit and cheeses, country pâté, cold salmon salad or the region’s signature Mozzarella di Bufala cheese.

©Richard Marcis
August 25, 2016

To view other wine of the month selections, see Monthly Wine Reviews

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