Posted by: tomciocco | October 12, 2010


Only at my one of my favorite wine shops in NYC could one walk though the entrance and right there, by the door, in a 4 case stack, find a Rossese (roh SSEH zeh), which by the way loosely translates as “reddish”, and legend has it was the favorite wine of one fairly successful Corsican warlord and dictator, Napoleone Buonaparte. Rossese is one of my favorite wines too. I guess with the good sometimes comes the bad. As far as the wine itself is concerned, it’s all good news. …

To clarify, Rossese is the name of a red grape variety native to Liguria, Italy, which is most closely associated with the gorgeous little town of Dolceacqua  (though ours is from Albenga) in the extreme western corner of Liguria, just a  few miles from the French border. Liguria’s steep, rocky, vineyards, many tiny vineyard sites owned by umpteen different owners, and a very healthy local market make Rossese a rarity outside of Liguria, which makes the most celebrated Rossese (di Dolceacqua) rarer yet.  This wine is made under the Rossese di Liguria Ponente DOC

As always, tasting notes on this wine are lined up just below, but if I had to quickly characterize the grape for the uninitiated vis a`vis other, better known varieties, I’d say that Rossese is roughly even parts Grenache and Pinot Noir, having the texture and big fruit of the former with the nose and the light, dusty burgundy color of the latter – more or less…Suffice it to say that Rossese rocks. 

Traditionally, Rossese is paired with grilled, fattier fish, poultry, and especially rabbit stewed with the tiny Ligurian Taggiasca olives. I plated and glassed the Rossese with a basil pesto with no garlic, and just pine nuts, ricotta, and olive oil (Camogli style) over pseudo-trofie , then thin-sliced, pounded chicken breasts stuffed with a hash of breadcrumbs, prosciutto, lots of fresh marjoram, and an egg, and a dish Ligurians call polpettone, which in every other part of Italy means “meatloaf”, but typical of the tight-fisted Ligurians, to them signifies a baked pie of mashed potatoes, chopped haricots verts, eggs, ricotta, and herbs. The four comestibles went together like 2 old bridge couples…





Aimone Giobatta Vio Rossese di Albenga Riviera di Liguria Ponente 2009

Transparent “misty” black-tinted ruby color. Alluring nose of cherry and cranberry fruit, red flowers, and musky sweet spices. The palate is smooth and clear with deep flavors of strawberry jelly, caramel, and black tea with honey, lightly peppery tannins, and a nicely lifted spicy and dried red currant finish.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ethan, Snootie Redz. Snootie Redz said: ME AND BUONAPARTE AND A PALE RED WINE « EXALTED RATIONS: ME AND BUONAPARTE AND A PALE RED WINE. Only at my one of … […]

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