2003 Palama Salento Rosato Metiusco, Puglia, Italy

The winery at Azienda Vinicola Palama has been around since 1936, and is still in the Palama family. While proprietor Arcangelo Palama initially sold most of their wine in bulk, it eventually made its way into restaurants, and elsewhere. Now at the hands of third generation Palamas (sons Cosimo and Donato) and in collaboration with the consultant Leonardo Sergio, the winery is producing some of the highest quality wines in the Salento region.

Salento is a small DOC in the Apulia (Puglia) region of Italy which covers the lower portion of “the boot.” Salento is in the heel of the boot, and centers around the small town of Salice Salentino.

This wine is a rose most likely made from a mix of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera varietals. Negroamaro (literally “black, bitter”) is traditionally a blending grape, but in Salento in particular it is often mixed with Malvasia to make some hefty red wines as well as roses like this one. Malvasia Nera (aka Red Malvasia — since many Malvasia varieties are white) has traditionally been used as a blending grape as well, historically complementing Tuscany’s Sangiovese in regional blends before being displaced by Cabernet in more recent years.

Tasting Notes:
This is one of the most intensely colored rosatos I have ever seen, colored shimmering rose pink, with gorgeous aromas of sweet championship roses (yes, the flower) and flavors in the mouth of cranberry, pomegranate, white plums, and bright minerals. The acidity of this wine is spectacularly fresh and crisp making it a delight to drink with just about anything. A clean finish ensures a refreshing experience that is actually closer to a light red wine than most other wines of its color (this is nothing like a white infidel). Drink it cold.

Food Pairing:
This is a knockout with ceviche of any type, especially a spicy recipe like this sea bass ceviche with roasted peppers, grilled masa cakes, roasted corn and citrus marinade.

Overall Score: 9/9.5

How Much?: $13.99

I get mine from the guys down at Wine Expo in Santa Monica and as far as I know they are the only place in the states to carry it. Try them at 310-828-4428.