Thursday 8 August 2013

The Rossese Report - Part I

Where is it?
We´re in the car, driving slowly through the small village of Soldano, looking for Tenuta Anfosso. We are driving to slow, since the Italian driver behind us honks the horn (which the always do anyway...:-))
There it was! A relatively small sign a few meters from the road. Ok, where to turn the car around? More honks from behind.

Finally arrived, and Alessandro great me with a big smile. My better half takes the car and heads down to the beach, leaving me in the care of Alessandro and his wife, Marisa.
The rest of the visit is a mix of my poor Italian, Alessandros poor English, and to our luck Marisas good English. And of course, lots of fine wines, sine Tenuta Anfosso is one of the best producers of Rossese di Dolceacqua. Info here.

Rossese di Dolceacqua have since 1972 its own DOC. To make a wine within the DOC rules it has to be made out of at least 95% Rossese, the rest can be indigenous varietals. Alcohols levels have to be 12% for the normal Rossese di Dolceacqua and 13% for the Superiore. The Superiore cannot be released before November 1 the year after the harvest.
The origin of Rossese is unknown, many opinions place its origin in Greece. What is a fact is that Rossese and Tibouren (grown in Provence) are identical. If it was spread from France to Italy or the other way around is not (yet) determined. But it have been planted for centuries in Liguria - the Admiral Andrea D´Oria (1466-1560) used to celebrate the Genovese Fleets victories with Rossese!

Alessandro asks what I want to taste, and being my modest self I ask - everything? :-) So we start of with a unicorn in the wine world...
(2012) Antea, Tenuta Anfosso
The first wine poured is really a unique one. Antea is made out of Rossese Bianco di San Biagio, an extremely rare Ligurian grape. And if that wasn´t enough, it comes from pre phylloxera vines. Alessandro knows that the vines are older than 1888, but not how far back in time they reach. This grape is not included in the national register of grape varieties in Italy, therefore only could be used for table wines. And its not allowed to put the vintage date on the label, the vintage could instead be recognized by a lot number on the label. That´s why the vintage above is in brackets.
Alessandro makes about 1.500 bottles a year.

How about the wine then? I´ll tell you - it´s stunning! The nose is deep and intoxicating with a very own character to it. There is some dry sweetness here. Notes of lemons, lime, rocks and white flowers arises from the glass. Aristocratic in some peculiar way. Would love to have some more time with this one. Very, very good.
The taste is dry, fresh and salivating with a high, piercing acidity and notes of wet rocks, lemon peel and presses flowers. The finish is long, pure and intense. There is something special about it for sure, and I really, really like it.
91p   (tasted 2013/07)

(2012) Sciacau, Tenuta Anfosso
The Rosato is made out of 100% Rossese grapes and can, as the white wine above, not have its vintage on the label, under the current DOC rules.
The nose is light, finely balanced and elegant with notes of just ripe raspberries, rhubarb and gravel. Very good.
The taste is light, elegant and salivating with notes of lingonberries, raspberries, dried herbs and gravel. A fine fresh acidity. Gulpable. Very, very good.
87p   (tasted 2013/07)

Then it was time for the Rossese wines. Alessandro explains that 2011 was a difficult vintage, it was almost necessary at the harvest to pick grape by grape. The 2012 was on the other hand a fine vintage and a easy harvest. Going back, the 2010 was an excellent vintage. I will be looking forward to the Luvaira and especially the Poggio Pini 2012 when they are released in November.

2011 Rossese di Dolceacqua, Tenuta Anfosso
The "normale" Rossese is open for business with fine scents of mulberries, blueberries, earth and some light peppery aromas. Medium deep. Good.
The taste is warm, medium bodied and good with notes of lingonberries, blueberries, dried herbs and some undergrowth. The tannins are light but supports the fruit nicely. This is for drinking now and the coming 3-5 years.
85p   (tasted 2013/07)

2011 Rossese di Dolceacqua Superiore Poggio Pini, Tenuta Anfosso
This beauty comes from the vineyard Poggio Pini which is about 1,3 ha big. Even from this more difficult year, this shows it class from start to finish. The nose is deep, elegant and profound, with notes of ripe raspberries, mulberries, spices and warm earth. And over everything else there is a wonderful perfumed note that brings an extra dimension to this wine.
The taste is ripe, tight and elegant with lots of warmth, structure and breed. The fruit is a mix of red and black berries combined with notes of assorted peppers, scorched earth, dry licorice and dried flowers. The finish is long, warm and complex. Still young, this needs another 3-5 years in the cellar to really show of and it will keep for 10+ years.
93p   (tasted 2013/07)

2011 Rossese di Dolceacqua Superiore Luvaira, Tenuta Anfosso
The Luvaira, from a 2,5 ha vineyard, is bigger and broader than the Poggio Pini. More black than red fruits, more depth and power. The nose is big, tight and warm with lots of sweet mulberries, black cherries, rosemary bushes, black pepper and undergrowth. Very young and concentrated.
The taste is big, tight and intense with juicy notes of black cherries, blueberries, meat stock, undergrowth and dried spices. Very young. This has more to it than then the Poggio Pini, but it doesn´t have its charm and finesse. But give this 7+ years in the cellar and I imagine it will come out extraordinary.
90p   (tasted 2013/07)

A couple of days later, in a Enoteca, I ran in to the 2009 vintage of both the Poggio Pini and the Luvaira. Of course I bought them both - and drank them!

2009 Rossese di Dolceacqua Superiore Poggio Pini, Tenuta Anfosso
A fine, deep, somewhat mature nose with notes of black cherries, blueberries, rotten vegetables, undergrowth and the same wonderful perfumed aroma that was present in the 2011, although this is sweeter and darker. Very, very fine. Some notes of smoke after a while.
The taste is big, complex and layered with some maturity and notes of blueberries, dry licorice, warm earth, hard cherry candy and sweet, sandy tannins. Very, very good. Kept the bottle for three days and it kept very well. Stunning wine.
92p   (tasted 2013/07)

Poggio Pini - pic from Tenuta Anfosso´s webpage
2009 Rossese di Dolceacqua Superiore Luvaire, Tenuta Anfosso
A big, open, warm nose with notes of cherry candy, cherry jam, moist earth, dried balsam vinegar and smoke. Hints of cigarette ashes. Very warm. Deep.
The taste is big, tight and warm with lots of concentration and power with notes of sweet and sour cherries, blueberry jam, licorice, warm undergrowth and old leather. Somewhat rustic. Long and warm. Very good but I prefer the perfumed note and cooler character of the Poggio Pini.
88p   (tasted 2013/07)

Luvaira - pic from Tenuta Anfosso´s webpage
And finally, last year I tasted the 2008 Luvaira on our vacation in Liguria.

2008 Rossese di Dolceacqua Superiore Luvaira, Tenuta Anfosso
A big, ripe, dark and warm nose with notes of sweet blueberries, black cherries, licorice, old leather and some smoky aromas. Very deep. But a tad unbalanced. Very warm.
The taste is big, semi mature and warm with notes of sweet lingonberries, raspberries, moist undergrowth and bonfire smoke. A long, warm, intense finish. Very good. Wears its heart on its sleeve. This is on its way to maturity, give it 3-5 years more in the cellar.
87p   (tasted 2012/07)

I had arranged a visit to Ka*Mancine right after the visit to Tenuta Anfosso, and I had understand it to be walking distance between the two. I was wrong and it wasn´t...
When I explained to Alessandro that I was going to walk to Ka*Mancine he looked at me. Walk? And he pointed right up the nearest mountain. Ok then, what to do?

Alessandro then phones Maurizio (they share their last name - Anfosso - and are related in some way, but my poor Italian prevented me from understand really how) and 30 minutes later Maurizio picks me up and we went up to his cellar. During our wait for Maurizio we talked about all things outside wine (yes, there are others things in life! :-)) with some salami and cheese and finishing the Rosato off.
A great visit, some amazing wines and truly wonderful people!

Part II - a visit to Ka*Manzine.


  1. Yes! Ale and Marisa are great people!
    Didn't you notice a change in style between 2011 and the older wines? I found a much sweeter and more delicate fruit in both Pini and Luvaira. Alessandro is reaching for the top of the Rossese expression.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Andrea!
      I didn´t think it was a big difference between the 2011 and the 2009´s. For example - the perfumed note in Poggio Pini was almost exactly the same in the 2011 and the 2009, albeit that the 2009 seemed a tad more mature. But the 2008 Luvaira was a bit different compared to the 2009 and 2011, a bit more rustic and old fashioned in a way.
      And I am really looking forward to Alessandros 2012!


  2. Joakim - sorry if I post this question twice (I remember trying to post in the comment-field a couple of weeks back... but cant find it now): Where in Liguria did you stay? and did you try and good Pigato? We were in Finale Ligure and hade a couple of nice bottles of Pigato. Next time I have to try some Rossese. Best regards - Peter

    1. Hi Peter, thanks for the comment! No, haven´t seen any post from you before.
      We stayed one week in Ospedaletti (close to Rossese di Dilceacqua land!)and one week in Cogoleto. I´m more of a Vermentino man myself :-), I think that Pigato often has a Gewürztraminer feeling about it that I´m not found of.