The Rosa Regale 2016 is a Sparkling Red wine made from the Brachetto grape grown in the Banfi Estate La Rossa vineyard near the town of Acqui Terme (the Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG) in Piedmont located in northwest Italy. I think that a wine that has a story behind it tastes better and the Rosa Regale has a story. There are actually 2 stories to tell, the first is that this vineyard and winery was founded in the mid-1700s. The Brachetto grape has been grown in these hills for several thousand and this winery produced very popular and prized wine, but over time the estate fell into disrepair. In 1979, Banfi Vintners purchased the facility, revitalized the vineyard and started the production of Rosa Regale. The 2nd story is more of a legend than a certified fact. More than 2,000 years ago Julius Caesar, when he went to Egypt to meet Cleopatra, brought the gift of Vinum Acquense (translates to wine produced near Acqui Treme and from the description, the wine sounds a lot like Brachetto). Cleo is said to think Vinum Acquense was the greatest aphrodisiac. It must have worked for Caesar because after Brutus and the boys stuck it to him and it was Marc Antony’s turn to pay a visit to Cleopatra, Marc made sure he bought some Vinum Acquense with him. And well the rest is history. The Rosa Regale gets its bubbles from the Charmat Method, the same used for Prosecco. The Charmat Method has been around since about 1900 and the Champagne Method is 3 or 4 hundred years older, so Cleopatra didn’t get bubbles with her Brachetto. She was crazy for the stuff before they added bubbles and bubbles only make wine better. The alcohol content is a low 7%.
The color is cranberry juice red with loads of energetic little bubbles. The nose is unusual, it is slightly sweet, strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and spice drop candy (sweet, but not too sweet). This is a Bubbly with a touch of sweetness to it, but it has enough flavor to handle the sweetness. It tastes of ripe just picked raspberries, strawberry, black cherry, all sprinkled with a bit of sugar. The mid-palate shows just a hint if cherry custard. The acidity is a little less pronounced than some Sparkling wine but does its job of acting as a counterbalance to the sweet fruit flavors. The finish is full and takes its time fading away.
The Rosa Regale 2016 is a very tasty Bubbly, be careful, the alcohol content is only 7% but you just may wind up drinking twice as much as you planned. It is one of those wines that you keep grabbing your glass to take another sip without being fully aware you are doing so. It is perfect for family get together where you don’t want to be accused of getting Grandma drunk or for the Bridal couple at a wedding. Give them a break, a tasty glass of bubbles for all the toasts without getting an alcohol overdose. It is a delicious and unique Bubbly and it isn’t too expensive (the internet shows it selling for anywhere between $13 and $20), not bad for a wine that got Antony and Cleopatra frisky.