"Over a cool glass of bright, juicy, peppery Rossese, I phoned Paolo Ruffino, who carries the flag for the Punta Crena estate after more than five hundred continuous years of familial wine production along the idyllic Ligurian coast. What, I asked, makes a great Rossese?
For Rossese, there are two important factors. First is location: Rossese must be planted at least 200 meters above sea level, and it needs plenty of sun to ripen properly. Second, it must grow in soil of very low fertility. The variety is highly productive, and it requires poor soils to restrict yields and make interesting wines.
The Ruffinos planted top-quality Rossese clones from Dolceacqua in their Isasco vineyard, where terraced slopes of terra rossa (red clay) overlook the Mediterranean perched at 240 meters elevation. All the care, attentiveness, and backbreaking labor required to farm this site result in one of the most joyful and lighthearted reds you will encounter. Taking a sip is akin to crunching into a just-ripe cherry tomato, its nectar bursting onto the palate with sweet, spicy, piquant goodness. Serve it when you would normally open a white but feel like drinking a red."