Allegrini 2018

In the Leone de Castris vineyards, the harvest of the historic rosé wine

The first bunches of Negroamaro are in the wine cellar. Piernicola Leone de Castris narrates the origins of the first Italian rosé, “Five Roses”

The Italian grape harvest started out first with the bubbles, followed by the whites, and has concluded with the rosés. In Apulia, at Leone de Castris, the first bunches of Negroamaro, which are the ones to be used for the sparkling wine bases, are in the cellar. The next ones to be harvested, starting Monday, are the ones that will renew one of Italian wine’s most fascinating histories: “Five Roses ”. The rosé is the symbol of the Salento brand around the world, almost eighty years old and the forerunner of a trend that has recently skyrocketed on the Italy-United States axis.
Piernicola Leone de Castris is the latest generation at the helm of the company, who told WineNews that the creation of “Five Roses”,
“dates back to a very complex moment in history. It was at the end of the Second World War, in 1943, when my grandfather (Don Piero Leone de Castris, ed.) produced a rosé wine (to which he had not given a name), to distinguish himself from the productions of reds that had always characterized the company. Luckily, a meeting had been scheduled with an important American officer, Charles Poletti, who was stationed in Brindisi”.
It all took place “at my father’s birthday party, in January 1944, where my grandfather offered his rosé in a carafe. In that year, Italy was divided in two, the Germans and the Republic of Salò were in the north and American troops were in the south. So, it was impossible to buy the glass bottles produced in the north. The American general liked the rosé wine so much that he wanted to order tens of thousands of bottles. They solved the problem of the lack of bottles by recycling the empty beer bottles the American troops in Brindisi had used, which were sterilized and filled with the rosé wine. The year 1943 became the first harvest of the first Italian rosé wine, bottled in beer bottles, but capped with cork”.
What immediately catches the eye is that its name has nothing of Apulia, or even Italian.
“They decided to name it “Five Roses” because the grapes came from the “Cinque Rose” estate, so called because for many generations the family had always had five children, and so did my father’s generation. It was then translated into English, because as the story narrates, the first customer was American, which was also for marketing purposes. It is extraordinary that it was established first in the United States before Italy. Today it is one of our most popular and distinctive wines”.

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