Lacrima di Morro d'Alba Rosae
This week I tried a very unusual and somewhat quirky wine that I picked up at my local wine shop, Wine Authorities. The wine shop is great for people just getting into wine, and for people who know exactly what they want. They specialize in estate-grown wine from small family-owned wineries. Estate grown wine means that all the grapes used in the wine are grown on the property, they don't ship in wine from other vineyards. This means that you won't find any typical "grocery store" wines at their shop. They also only sell wine that is less than $50. They try to make wine less stuffy and more approachable. This is great for me because my wine budget is usually $15-$35. Additionally, all their staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgable. They love it when you ask for recommendations and can talk at length about any of the wines in the store without making you feel like an idiot for asking. I ended up with the Rosae because I asked one of the staff for a recommendation, and told him that I usually like Italian reds and that I wanted to try something new and different. He pointed me towards the Rosae, a wine made with Lacrima di Motto d'Alba from the Casalfarneto winery in the Marche region of Italy, the eastern edge of central Italy. This particular wine was a 2013 vintage.
Now let's get to how the wine actually tasted. Like I said, this wine was very unusual, but you wouldn't know that just from sniffing the wine. When I sniffed it before tasting I got notes of fresh red berries, cherries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Nothing that unusual for a fruit-forward Italian red. But when I took my first sip, I felt like I was being punched in the face with how bright and acidic the wine was. Fruit forward was an understatement; fruit forward, backward, and in the middle was more like it. I got the red berries and cherry that I smelled at first, but as I swallowed I was hit with a strong taste of grapefruit, a taste that I usually only associated with white wines, specifically New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I was incredibly surprised by how strong of a citrus note there was with a red wine. This wine tasted unoaked and had very low tannins. It took what I generally like about Italian reds and pushed it to the extreme. I tried a glass of it again the next day, hoping it would mellow out a bit. The wine did mellow out, but the brightness and acidity were still the stars of the show. Instead of feeling like they punched me in the face, it was more like an aggressive tap on the nose. The flavors and notes were calmer and less extreme, but there were no new notes that I hadn't picked up on the day before. It hadn't really changed overnight.
I chose to try this wine by itself, without pairing it with any food. I didn't really have anything in my fridge that I thought would go well with an Italian red, but if I had known how acidic this wine was, I would have considered making some sort of fish or seafood dish to go with it, like I would a white. The citrusy notes of this wine would go well with a white fish or scallops. I could also see it pairing well with a goat cheese. I would usually pair goat cheese with Sauvignon Blanc, but the citrus of this wine is so similar to the citrus of Sauvignon Blanc, that I think it would also go well with goat cheese. I could also imagine drinking this wine chilled, by itself, during the summer. It would be a great patio drinking wine on a hot day. I wouldn't buy this wine again if I was looking for something more typical of an Italian red, but sometime next summer, if I can't decide between a red or a white, I may pick this up again.