Setting the Bar High for (Bargain) Italian Rosé

2008 Vecchia Torre Leverano Rosato

The Back Story:

This is a sort of part two to my review yesterday, in which I extolled the absolute averageness of the Vecchia Torre Leverano Bianco blend. I finished that off with a teaser by stating that I had subsequently purchased several bottles of their Rosé after first trying it. From here on out, I shall attempt to explain why.

The 2008 Vecchia Torre Leverano Rosato, like its lighter brother, is a blend of two grapes from the Leverano region of Italy. Negroamaro comprises 80% of the wine while Malvasia Nera shores up the other 20%. While the Bianco was priced at 9 bucks, this guy had a nice big orange sale sticker on it that dropped the price to about $6. Very cool.

A side story: The day that I had bought more of this wine, I also went to an Italian wine tasting at Weaver Street Market. I tried another Italian Rosé there, and I mentioned to the guy that I had just dropped less than 40 bucks and gotten six bottles of a really easy-drinking Italian. When I told him it was Vecchia Torre, he absolutely lit up. Turns out he worked for the American distributor for Vecchia Torre, and that wine was one of his favorites. Affirmation is a beautiful thing.

The Results:

The appearance of the wine was a very rich, dark pink, approaching a healthy red color. There was a distinct peach tint to the wine, nothing that actively discolored it, but it was noticeable in the light. The swirl suggested a medium viscosity and a fairly solid texture.

The nose of the wine was probably the low point, which is like being the worst linebacker at USC (not so bad, is basically the point I’m meandering around). It was pungent but non-descript, slightly acrid, with notes of coffee, vanilla, plum, and lemon zest. Based on the nose alone, I would expect a simple, earthy, and watery wine.

The mouth feel of the wine was very smooth, not too syrupy given the viscosity, with a crisp bite. I wouldn’t quite say velvety, but it did coat the tongue very nicely.

The flavor of the wine was, to say the least, astonishingly good. It was surprisingly sweet with a refreshing tartness. The immediate flavors were overwhelmingly fruit-forward, consisting of a not-quite-ripe strawberry and some faint citrus like a grapefruit or a tart orange. While the mid-palate was relatively lacking, the finish was clean with a fantastic sour raspberry. As it warmed, it developed a second front flavor of raspberry, and the citrus flavors became even more prominent. What was remarkable was how forward and clear the flavors were. I tasted a bite of unripe strawberry and it was almost identical to the initial flavor.

I paired the wine with shrimp cocktail and garlic-baked naan drizzled with garlic- and black-pepper-infused olive oil. The sweetness of the wine matched the richness of the naan perfectly, and the fruit flavors countered the pungent garlic very well. The shrimp, however, didn’t fare as well, weakening the flavors and lending the wine a too-sour flavor even without any condiments.

For the Casual Drinker:

I heartily endorse this wine to any new or casual drinkers. It’s clean, crisp, fruity, just an all-around fantastic wine. There’s complexity here, to be sure, but even the simplest flavors are well worth the price of admission. It seems like it would pair well with many carb-heavy meals (pastas, breads, rice, etc) that don’t involve red meat or tomato-based sauces or soups. I would say that this wine is ideal for sipping outside on a warm summer afternoon. It’s that refreshing.

The Conclusion:

Hell, what else can I say? I went back and bought six bottles of this guy literally days after I tried it. I would easily pay twice what I paid for this wine. The fact that it was discounted makes the wine even sweeter. 8/10  at the price I got it for, but 7/10 if you’re shelling out more than $10 for it. I’ve seen it priced up to $15 online. That’s a little much, I’d say.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.