The rosé market is considerable today and sales continue to grow, particularly to younger wine consumers. It has led many estates to develop a rosé; some are focused primarily on quality, some backed by celebrities perhaps more focused on image, and some of the very best, such as Alexis Lichine’s Château d’Esclans (home to Whispering Angel), have succeeded in delivering on quality and image. It is not surprising then that other producers are looking to emulate the same success, albeit with perhaps a different interpretation.
I was recently sent a sample of a rosé from Tuscany…perhaps not the first region that springs to mind for rosé production. It came in a very sleek and stylish amphora-shaped bottle. To be honest, my first instinct was that this was likely to be a question of style over substance despite the encouraging pale hue in the bottle. I assumed this must be a new brand with vast production designed to compete with the market for southern French and Provençal rosé.
I am pleased to say I was wrong on both fronts…SOF Rosé is a wine made at Tenuta Campo di Sasso, a Tuscan estate that lies to the western side of Maremma, near Bibbona. The estate consists of three plots of vineyard that lie along the road that joins Bibbona to Bolgheri – home to the Super Tuscans of Sassicaia and Ornellaia among others. Given its geographical location, it should come as no surprise that the estate is owned by Lodovico Antinori, a name synonymous with great Tuscan wines. SOF is actually dedicated to his daughter, Sophia Antinori and is a tiny production of just 10,000 bottles.
I was intrigued to discover that the blend is Cabernet Franc and Syrah – both varieties perform well in the warmer climate of Maremma, given its lower altitude and sandy, loamy soils. The two varieties that are blended in SOF come from the San Giovanni vineyard in the village of Bibbona. The coastal influence is key here, leading to vineyards that show good variation between day- and night-time temperatures, that helps to retain acidity and preserve aromatics. To keep hold of this vital freshness, the fruit is harvested in the early hours of the morning across different days – for the 2019, the Syrah was harvested on the 22nd August and the Cabernet Franc on the 30th. It takes these kind of steps to produce high quality rosé. On receipt at the winery, the grapes are sorted, destemmed, and allowed a very short maceration time to pull flavour and colour from the skins, creating the pale rosé appearance. Winemaker Helena Lindberg, who has worked for Lodovico Antinori since 2004, has crafted a fascinating rosé. Yes, it looks like a lot of time and effort has gone into the presentation, but no less so in the refining of the winemaking. This is a softly styled rosé, which whilst it may have been inspired by Provençal rosé, is no attempt at imitation; the blend of 50% of each Cabernet Franc and Syrah works remarkably well; it is distinctive and finely tuned. I should add that the alcohol is a modest 12% so this certainly does not rank as a heady rosé…
Please see below for my full note.
We are delighted to say that the estate have granted us a special introductory offer price for this wine as it is yet to build its following in the UK.
2019 SOF Rosato, Tentuta Campo di Sasso
£90 per 6 bottle case in bond
Pale in salmon pink/slightly orangey hue. This is a refined rosé, with notes of zesty creamy fruit on the nose – soft ripe red berries. Fuller than most Provençal styles, this is a rounded, textural rosé that shows the volume of fruit you would expect from Syrah and Cabernet Franc. It retains a mouthwatering fresh accent with creamy red berry fruit and the merest hint of spice. There is a seamless feel to this rosé – with subtle notes of ripe peach and juicy strawberry. Very well crafted, with good bright acidity leading into positive dry finish. (SL) 2020-2021.
This is drinking really well now, and stocks will be available for delivery in 3 weeks. So there you have it – a great rosé to add to your summer drinking list; sleek in design, low volume production, well-crafted and distinctive…not at all what I was expecting!
Please let us know of your interest.
All the best,