Castello di Amorosa recently has named Sebastiano Rosa of Bolgheri Italy as its new wine advisor.
“From the vineyard to the glass, the addition of Sebastiano Rosa will bring an international perspective to our program,” said the Castle’s President Georg Salzner. “Our history is Italian; our winery is Italian style, so it is natural that we partner with Sebastiano to create unique, Italian-style wines.”
Rosa said he sees his relationship with the Castle winemaking team as an exchange between two cultures with two different ways of looking at winemaking.
“Wines come from different cultures and terroirs and shouldn’t be compared but enjoyed,” said Rosa in regards to the inevitable comparison between winemaking in the old and new world.
Like the castle itself, Rosa brings an Italian spirit blended with an American one. He is a third-generation winemaker in renowned Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido winery, but his educational background is American. He graduated in 1990 from UC Davis.
This is his first consulting position in the United States. He will consult on all aspects of the Castle’s red wine program and will travel to the Napa Valley several times a year.
“We are very interested and passionate about comparing and contrasting with the European wines,” said Brooks Painter, director of winemaking at the Castle. Painter said he sees the collaboration with Rosa as an opportunity to add an international perspective to the wine.
“Bolgheri is an interesting and compelling wine region,” he said of Rosa’s native wine region. “They are pioneers in making new varieties of Italian wines. In a way, just like Napa Valley they are trying to use new varieties and new blends and bucking the past trend of classic regions and classic varieties.”
In addition to Rosa’s visits to the valley, Painter is scheduled to visit him in Tuscany in the spring. “I am really looking forward to visiting Sebastiano,” he said. “My interest in what happens in Tuscany and especially Bolgheri is for the Super Tuscan.”
The term “Super Tuscan” was used for the first time in the ‘60s by a journalist who visited Rosa’s grandfather and refers to Sassicaia — a Bordeaux style Italian blend.
“Sassicaia is a Bordeaux blend, but it’s made in the Mediterranean and so it is a very different wine,” said Rosa. “Sassicaia is the expression of our terroir.”
While Rosa was hired as a consultant, he said he hopes to learn a thing or two about marketing from the Castle’s team.
While Sassicaia wines are sold in the open market, Castello di Amorosa wines are sold directly from the winery. “I have a great admiration to the fact everything is sold here,” he said. “We have a lot to learn about treating clients.”
Rosa said he also was impressed with the outcome of Dario Sattui’s 15-year building project. “You see very few castles like this,” he said. “It is a live castle and it makes a big difference. Obviously it doesn’t have history, but in 200 years it will.”