Rossese by Luigi Calvini, San Remo, Liguria, Italy

Rossese is another interesting variety to be found only in Italy. The origin of this variety is unknown, but it’s grown in Liguria at least since the 16th century. There are two DOC areas where it’s cultivated: Riviera Ligure di Ponente Rossese and Rossese di Dolceacqua. Both regions are tiny and so all Rossese grapes come from barely 400ha.

Liguria is a very particular wine-growing region. You must consider that there is not even one flat hectare of terrain. It’s all about a long and thin strip of land between the Mediterranean (the part called Ligurian Sea) and the Alps. They produce relatively little wine and it’s much about regional, often autochthon varieties like Bosco, Albarola or Pigato.

Wines from the Riviera Ligure di Ponente are mostly pure Rossese and so was mine. I had a bottle of one from 2010, but Rossese is not Barolo, and I doubt it should be stored and aged. The aroma was quite unique reminding me of rosehips, but also strawberry and maybe slightly prunes. Tasting it I discovered a remarkable note of acidity of herbal character. And I must admit, as much as I liked it, my friends didn’t.

I guess you cannot serve this wine to impress some important business partners but it is a definitely fascinating trip into the culture and identity of the picturesque coastal Liguria and its people.

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