This month for #ItalianFWT, we round up rosati! How appropriate given that summer is the height of drinking pink. Although it’s peak time for any rose, they can certainly be drunk all year long, as I do! A huge thanks to Lauren from The Swirling Dervish for hosting and for picking such a great theme!
For my rosato, we’re headed to Basilicata. It’s the southern region in-between the “toe” (Calabria), and the “heel” (Puglia). It’s a region of Italy I have not yet visited, but is high on my Italy visit list. To see those extinct volcanoes and row upon row of aglianico vines would be a dream come true!
Aglianico grows in the southern regions of Italy, but is most notable from Taurasi and Taburno in Campania and from the Vulture in Basilicata. In Basilicata, aglianico is THE red grape. And in a region that we don’t typically hear about, the next generation is sticking around to promote and keep making wines just like generations before, yet with modern technologies and winemaking techniques. Cantine Madonna delle Grazie is one of those families with the torch being passed to son Paolo, whom I had the privilege of meeting in (of all places), Barolo! They are a family owned winery in Venosa, Basilicata, the “instep” of Italy’s boot. The rosato I’m drinking from Madonna delle Grazie is called Sagaris, made from 100% aglianico. I contacted Paolo for some information on how this name came about and this is what he said:
“Sagaris was a freed slave, mentioned in a Latin inscription, found in the streets of Venosa; he is described as an attentive and trusted conductor of his master land. With the same care and with our complete dedication to work both in the vineyard and in the cellar, we want to recall his name and example.”
This 2018 vintage, Paolo told me, was 100% direct press, but the 2019 (which I have yet to taste), has skin contact. They decide (on the method) based on the quality and taste of the grape. I love this: letting the grapes decide the process! The beautiful dark rose colour has aromas of orange peel, pomegranate, flint, pungent floral violet, and hints of savoury herbs. On the palate the refreshing acidity hits you right up front with more pomegranate fruit along with cranberry and sour raspberry. Lots of minerality notes coming from the volcanic soil with granite, wet rock and flint notes.
Paolo went on to describe for me what types of foods the locals would have with this rosato! Simple bruschetta with pomidori, zucchine and melanzane mixed with (of course) extra virgin oglio d’oliva. He didn’t say this, but some fresh basilico on top would bring all these flavours together for a magical pairing! Needless to say, my mouth was watering after all the descriptions! But he wasn’t yet finished! Let’s not forget about the pasta dishes!
“If we move on to the pasta side, this was our pasta last week made with zucchine flowers and zucchine, easy to prepare and very tasty. We may prepare also some pasta with mussel and yellow pomodorini; or a more winter pasta is the classic strascinati (a longer kind of cavatelli) with fried mollica di pane and crispy flakes of crumbled, locally-grown heirloom red peppers, known as peperoni cruschi.”
The Italians certainly know how to eat-it’s definitely about the food and wine together! (And aren’t these photos fabulous? Thank you Paolo!)
It’s super hot here right now, which makes creating dishes next to impossible, especially when the temperature inside my house is 30C. Not ideal for cooking or creating some great food pairings. I lived vicariously through Paolo’s pairings mostly, but found some gyoza first to boil, then to pan fry in olive oil. My simple food pairing of chicken gyoza with all those umami flavours happened to go surprisingly well with my Aglianico rosato! A sweetness emerged with mouth-smacking sour cherry notes. This Aglianico rosato is a pleasant surprise and with more structure than your average rosato, it’s a definite food wine!
On another note of interest, Madonna delle Grazie makes a white aglianico. My first question was: is this a mutation of aglianico (like pinot blanc or grenache blanc), or fermenting only the juice? It’s the latter, and the Leuconoe also has some history behind the name. “Venosa was also home to the poet Horace (from 1st century BC), who wrote the poem “Carpe diem”(Odes 1.11) dedicated to the women
‘Leuconoe’ who inspired us for our white wine”, Paolo says. The wine is a delightful surprise with laser sharp acidity, citrus notes and that quintessential minerality only found from volcanic soils. I can’t wait to try the 2019! But back to the Sagaris…if you can get your hands on a bottle of aglianico rosato, especially this one from Madonna delle Grazie, you will have found a true gem! Salute!
To learn of some other amazing Italian rosati, check out some of the other #ItalianFWT writers! I can’t wait to read them!
- David from Cooking Chat writes about Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo: Pairings with My Favorite Italian Rosé
- Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairings writes about Pairing Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosato with Drunken Cold Chicken Wings and Pork Knuckle, Sautéed Julienne Leeks #ItalianFWT
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla tempts us with Sardinian Native Grapes, Italian Pinks, and Gamberi all’Aglio
- Terri from Our Good Life shares her pairing for Roasted Chicken Flatbread with Spumante Rosato
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass says Summer Won’t Last: and Neither Will this Charming Chiaretto in Your Glass
- Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog is Dreaming of Sicily with a Graci Rosato
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm is making Summer Quiche with an Italian Rosato
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator offers Summer Dinner with Rosato from Tuscany and Sicily
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass reminds us that Summer Won’t Last
- Lynn from Savor the Harvest suggests Rosato: Drinking Pink Italian Style, from the Mountains to the Sea
- Nicole from Somm’s Table prepares Cheese, Charcuterie, and Ciabatta with Praesidium Cerasuolo
- Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles offers Pallotte Cac e Ove & Orecchiette with Two Brilliant Cherry Red Rosatos from Southeast Italy
- Katrina from The Corkscrew Concierge advises us to Get to Know Lambrusco Rosato
- Susannah from Avvinare tells us that Italy’s Chiaretto from Lake Garda Makes Waves
- Jennifer from Vino Travels shares Rosato from the Veneto with Pasqua
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares Cantele Negroamaro Rosato: Summer Wine from the Heart of Puglia