By Victor Rallo
With Giuseppe Tasca d'Almerita
On February 25, a rainy day and a ferry ride to Manhattan would take me to New York Vintners on Warren Street in lower Manhattan for a vertical tasting from Italian Winery of the year, Tasca d’Almerita. The tasting would consist of seven vintages of Rosso del Conte 1979, 89, 98, 01, 04, 06,07.
This Sicilian winery dates back to 1830, and Giuseppe Tasca is the 7th generation running the family business. The first bottling of red wine was 1959, and the first bottling of Rosso del Conte was 1970. This wine was named after his grandfather The Count Tasca d’Almerita. This was the wine he liked to drink and he did not care much if anyone else liked the wine. Today Rosso del Conte is regarded as one of the best wines of Sicily and one of the great wines of Italy.
The wine is always made from grapes grown in the single vineyard called “San Lucio.” All of the varieties grown in San Lucio are cultivated in the alberello method which are grapes grown in little bushes. This method is often used in Sicily as the bush protects the grapes from the sun as the grapes sit under the leaves and also protects the grapes from the hot Scirocco winds from Africa.