Head off on a flight of fancy with new wine selections at Rosso

OH what funds would you need if you were ordering a bottle of ‘Super Tuscan’ red Tignanello with lunch? At Rosso (gorgeously decked out for Christmas), a bottle of the 2000 vintage would set you back £700, the 2015 a mere £180 – and those are not greedy prices for such world-class wines.

Or maybe, on a more modest budget, you’d prefer to explore a range of regional Italian bottles, sourced from Tignanello creators Marchesi Antinori? Discover how a variety of styles partner different dishes? Welcome to Rosso’s new bespoke wine flights.

2018 11 08 Rosso Wines From The Castle

In the trade since 1385, the globally renowned Italian wine house has expanded into regions beyond its Tuscan heartland, notably Puglia, a new frontier for quality whites as well as reds. So Rosso’s six flights, each consisting of three 100cl measures at prices from £15 (Escape To Puglia) to £35 (Best Of The Best), offer all kinds of grape-led adventures.

The restaurant’s Sardinian sommelier Giuseppe Sussarello was despatched to vineyards across Italy to explore the choices – lucky fellow – and he led us through four of the flights during an eye-opening lunch with some delectable dishes – lucky us – so we could understand how well the various wines match with them.

2018 11 08 Rosso Giuseppe Opens

Each of the wines was poured via a Coravin, that nifty needle-through-the-cork device that enables you to siphon wine out of bottles without spoiling what’s left for up to three months, enabling single pours of quality wine.

The joy of that was all too apparent in the Best Of The Best flight. The trio here was Umbria’s legendary complex Chardonnay/Grechetto blend Cervaro dell Sala 2015, its citrus toast and flint character even tackling a rare Florentine steak; Chianti Classico Riserva 2015, Tenuta Tignanello, all cherries and blackcurrants from a Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, and surprise package of the entire tasting, the smooth, long Bocca di Lupo Tormaresca 2012 from Puglia in the deep South, its savoury black fruit finesse vibrant proof of the potential of the Aglianico grape. This latter duo were heavenly with a selection of Italian cheeses, as you’d expect.

At the other end of the scale, the Escape To Puglia threesome goes way beyond cheap and cheerful, the more straightforward fruit of a Chardonnay, a vibrant Negroamaro rosé and the same varietal with Primitivo and Cabernet in a red blend all sharing an attractive purity of expression.

Whites From The Castle (£25) showcased a blissful Orvieto, Cervaro’s simpler (but still striking) sibling Bramito and a Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon and Semillon called, evocatively, Conte della Vipera (Count Snake). All were spot on accompanying dishes of truffled burrata and seared scallops with cherry tomatoes and garlic.

2018 11 08 Rosso Burrata

Our matches of the day, though, came with our fourth flight, when the steak and cured salt beef with rocket and 36-month aged Parmesan provided the perfect canvas for Antinori to show its mastery of Chianti in contrasting styles. For just £20, The Chianti Comparison kicked off with a violet-scented, fresh-tasting Santa Cristina, proving that a Chianti Superiore from outside the Classico denomination can, in the right hands, impress greatly. In a different league, though, was the benchmark Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2013, 90 percent Sangiovese, the rest Cabernet and Merlot, deftly oaked and seriously savoury. In between, a Peppoli Single Estate Classico married the positives from both styles. A revelation among many. 

Well, we did say Rosso’s Antinori wine flights were a grape-led adventure.

See the Rosso menu here.

Make a reservation here.

2018 11 08 Rosso Scallops