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The Longevity of Sicilian Wine, Rosso del Conte 1978 Tasca d’Almerita

febbraio 14, 2012

rosso del conte 1978 tasca d'almerita giornalevinociboby Luigi Salvo                         articolo in italiano
It may happen that while reviewing the bottles of your own cellar you may be captured by a sudden irresistible desire of uncorking one of them, one of great importance. Reading through the list of my most dated Sicilian wines, my attention stops on Tasca d’Almerita Rosso del Conte 1978. There are three bottles so I instantly decide to open one of them. These bottles had been given to my father in 1982 and since then they had laid in the darkness of my cellar.

The Rosso del Conte was the first Sicilian wine produced for ageing. In 1959 the Count Giuseppe Tasca d’Almerita decides to plant a new vineyard with the prince of Sicilian varieties: Nero d’Avola. The Regaleali estate is a 400 hectar stretch of vineyards where almond and olive trees alternate with cultivations of oats, wheat and eucalyptus trees.

In this splendid area of Sicily the soil is clayish, fine and lightly calcareous and the micro climate is unique. The 400 to 800 meter a/s/l altitude creates a wide temperature range within day and night.

After eleven years of experiments and attempts in 1970, thanks to the collaboration of Ezio Rivella, a young and venturesome oenologist, the wine is created using Nero d’Avola bush-trained vines with a small adding of Perricone, another authoctonous variety. The result is Regaleali Riserva of the Count of Tasca d’Almerita later named Rosso del Conte.

During the different vintages the wine has undertaken technical and stilistic evolutions. From the 70’s to 1987 the wine fermented in cement basins then was refined in chestnut casks. From 1988 fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks the the wine ages in 30 to 60 hl. French oak barrels. Gradually ageing shifts to French barriques.

The latest change dates back to 2003 when the Rosso del Conte becomes the Tenuta wine. The Nero d’Avola is joined by the best selection of other black varieties present in the Tasca estate. As for all great wines the vintages not considered excellent are not produced. Five times this has happened with the Rosso del Conte.

rosso rosso del conte 1978 tasca d'almerita bicchiere giornalevinocibo

Rosso del Conte 1978 Tasca d’Almerita tasting
I uncork the bottle and accurately decant the wine. Little by little the wine releases all the charm of its years of ageing. A few hours after being poured in the glass the wine gives great satisfaction.

The color is garnet red with orangy notes. The nose is crisp with scents of dried violets, red fruits in alcohol, varied tertiary notes of humus, mushroom and eucalyptus.  Certainly because of the optimal storage, the taste is surprising. Besides the expected smoothness, the wine reveals a lively palate of fruit, spices earthy elements in a truly enjoyable finish.
True sips of Sicilian wine history.

Translated by Maria Lina Bommarito 

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