Story and Photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
The irreverent and suave Travelling Gourmet TM tells you about this unique wine from Puglia in the south of Italy, a most…
MARVELLOUS region which I love. On the map it is is the “heel” of Italy. This article first appeared on the website of mio buon amico Davide Gangi aka “Il Cubano”. His website is “Vinoway”.
“Five Roses” Leone de Castris: the first ever rosé wine in a bottle of beer
Born in the dark days of the Second World War…
Thinking about “Five Roses” takes us back to a beautiful family story, linked to historical events and the chances of destiny. Born in 1943, this wine is the first rosé ever bottled in Italy and exported to USA! It is made from local varietals such as Negroamaro (90%) and Malvasia Nera (10% ). Its romatico name comes from the district “Cinque Rose” in Salice Salentino, in the province of Lecce, where the famous Apulian family is the owner of several hectares of vineyards, producing wine since the 17th century. In addition to the fact that Leone de Castris progeny has always been composed of five children, therefore the name “Cinque Rose”. Cinque means “five”
In 1943 during the II World War, Don Piero Leone De Castris sold a substantial supply of wine to General Charles Poletti, head of the American Military Government, who fell in love with the wine but changing the Italian name “Cinque Rose” in “Five Roses” for the new American market.
The story would stop at this point, but there is something more, a detail that should not be overlooked. There was a stumbling block tied to packaging, as it was impossible to rely on a supply of bottles in wartime. Don Piero was inspired decided to stock up all the beer bottles found in Brindisi, so he bottled his wine in them thus finding an “alternative” way to ship the first Italian rosè to US.
Since 1943 and until today, the “Five Roses” has consolidated its status as a “legend”, always faithful to his style, always pleasant and surprising. Pink cherry colour, “hot” like the Italian sun and most intriguing; notes of black cherry mixed mixed with strawberry and raspberry, with an elegant finish of rosehip.. Its young but silky tannins gratify even the most demanding connoisseurs. It is a timeless rosè wine. When pouring into the glass it would be nice to recall the words of Don Piero, the first time he offered Five Roses to his guests: “It is a rosé from Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, grown in my estate of Five Roses in Salice. A wine produced in small quantities because it is the favourite to my wife Lisette and her friends. That is why we never bottled it “…
Every taste reminds one of Puglia where a beautiful Signorina once sang to me in Gravina di Puglia…”When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…” There was a magical full moon that night… 🙂