Tasca d'Almerita Rosso del Conte 2015
Pair this wine with grilled steaks, Bordelaise sauces, rack of lamb, and rumaki.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
For eight generations, the Tasca d’Almerita family has been devoted to Sicily, its land, its unique nature and its surprising and inimitable resources. Their story began in 1830 with the purchase of Tenuta Regaleali, a green oasis spanning nearly 550 hectares in the center of the island where 8 generations have fostered the past, present and future of Sicilian winemaking. Regaleali is an unpredictable and breathtaking place, even for the experienced traveler. Luscious hills roll endlessly in several shades of green, with vineyards unlike any other in the world. “Nordic” features in the deep south, like the perceptible diurnal temperature excursions between day and night, the mountainous context, and the quality of the light render this place a winemaking paradise. A mosaic of exposures, mixed soils and elevations create a proper outdoor viticulture laboratory where 25 red and white varietals are planted across 382 hectares of vines.
In the year 2000, after more than 150 years of leading Sicily’s efforts in sustainable agriculture and advancing quality wine production at Tenuta Regaleali, Alberto Tasca (8th generation family and current CEO of Tasca d’Almerita) turned his eyes toward a new endeavor in the Tasca Family’s efforts to conserve and promote the very best of their island. With a strong patrimony at his back, Alberto Tasca boldly extended the Tasca family name to four other prestigious Sicilian winegrowing regions, creating the current portfolio of estates: Tenuta Capofaro on the Aeolian island of Salina; Tenuta Tascante on the living volcano that is Mt. Etna; Tenuta Whitaker on the Phoenician island of Mozia; and Tenuta Sallier de La Tour in the DOC Monreale.
A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.
Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on this sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white Sicilian wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.
Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieties or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected Sicilian wines of the island.
Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry Sicilian white. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines. How much does this matter?
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.