Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Newly-Released Rosés Allow Comparisons between North and South Italian Terroirs and Grape Varieties


Just in time for warmer weather wine imbibing, two of Italy’s leading wineries are releasing their first rosé wines. Both are budget oriented and sell for under $10.
The first, the Mezzacorona Rosé 2014 is made from 100 percent Lagrein grapes, a variety found along the Adige Valley north of Trento, the winery’s Northern Italian home. Handpicked in September, the grapes are soft-pressed in order to obtain a partial extraction of a pale pink color from the berries and fermented at low temperatures to preserve their fresh, fruity  bouquet and aroma. The wine comes in at 12% alcohol.
Much like a white wine with a delicate flavor, the Mezzacorona Rosé is dominated by an apricot profile with hints of citrus. Its fresh acidity is balanced by touches of minerality that make it a good companion to foods like white meats, tuna fish salad, calamari, grilled shrimp, octopus and white cheese and basil pizza.
Related to the Syrah and Pinot Noir grape varieties, the Lagrein is first mentioned in the 17th century in a written account in a Benedictine monastery in the Lagarina Valley of Trentino.
Stemmari Rosé 2014
From Sicily to the south, the Stemmari Rosé 2014 is made from 100 percent Nero d’Avola, the island’s most famous grape variety cultivated widely in the sandy soils of the Ragusa province, but now also all over Sicily and beyond.
More complex and fuller bodied than the Mezzacorona, the Stemmari has delightful floral notes and is somewhat sweeter than its nearly bone dry cousin from the north. Often compared to New World Shiraz, the Nero d’Avola, a.k.a., Calabrese, prefers  hot, arid climates and produces a red wine redolent of blackberry.
The Stemmari Rosé 2014 has a light ruby red color with aromas of strawberry and hints of white currant, cherry and gooseberry in its flavor profile. A great wine to serve on a picnic, this rosé can also be paired with grilled vegetables, seafood, and white meats.
"Both rosés represent the differences in their respective terroirs," said Lucio Matricardi, winemaker for both wineries. "Grapes grown in Trento are at a latitude that is almost identical to that of Mt. Rainier in Washington, while those grown in Sambuca [Sicily] approximate the growing conditions in a latitude belt equivalent to that of Napa Valley. This difference, combined with that of soil and varietal, has a profound effect on acidity and fruit profile, offering wine lovers an opportunity to experience two very different rosés - each with a unique character but both with elegant structure."

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