In a way, it's kind of embarrassing to be writing a note about Leverano Rosato. I've known about it for years, and I've certainly drunk a whole bunch of it, but I never thought to review it. It was just part of my mental landscape, I guess. I had a glass the other night for the first time in a few months, and it brought me up short: It had this little note of anise that until that moment hadn't caught my attention. I started to actually think* about how it smelled, tasted, how it looked...and you know, it's a really pleasant drink.
Vecchia Torre began in 1959 when fifty growers in the town of Leverano in the Salento district of southern Italy banded together to form the Cantina Sociale Cooperativa of Leverano. Today there are 1,240 members growing negroamaro, mavasia nera, trebbiano, and other grapes on a total of almost 2,700 acres of vineyards, turning out about 3.7 million gallons of wine a year. They average a relatively modest yield of 3.6 tons/acre, proof to me of the quality-mindedness of the co-op.
Vecchia Torre Rosado DOC Leverano 20112: Coral pink in the glass, with aromas of raspberry and a hint of anise. In the mouth, soft red berry fruit, and adequate acidity. It is made from a blend of 80% negroamaro and 20% malvasia nera. The anise note makes my argument that this is a disctinctively Italian pink. At $8.99/bottle, it is no wonder it is so popular with the local Italian eateries. And because it is so inexpensive, they feel free to experiment with it. Cucina 24 used to offer it infused with herbs! Widely available in Asheville.
*You may have seen this article by Mr. Asimov on rosé and “unthinking drinking.” I see no problem with “unconscious gravitiation toward a familiar or unthreatening sort of wine...” Hey, it's good to be adventurous with wine. But it's not a requirement! I guess being excessively serious about wine is a common professional hazard for New York City sommeliers. But you and me, we are not sommeliers, and sometimes it is more than enough to take a swallow and think “Yeah, that's good.” And go on with whatever else you're thinking about.