The Valentine's Day Massacre

St. Valentine in TerniSt.Valentine Basilica in Terni, Italy

Our War of the Roses quartet would be incomplete without an Italian contender, so we are bringing this one out of the gate first. And of course (and with all apologies) as this is a battle of the rosés as we roll towards Valentines Day, and this one is Italian, a reference to the St.Valentine's Day Massacre of Al Capone was inevitable. But these things all come so neatly wrapped up together: Saint Valentine was Italian and is the saint for which Valentines day is named- he was buried on February 14th. While little is actually known about Valentinus, as you can see in this beautiful stained glass window which resides in the Saint Valentine Basilica in Terni, Italy, it is generally accepted that he was martyred for marrying "unsanctioned" couples, and here he is shown blessing these young lovers. Who happen to be passing a rose between them. The artist almost certainly meant for it to symbolize the rosé wine we are focusing on right now.

The wine. This Rosato comes from Rosa del Golfo, a winery with ancient roots in the agricultural traditions of that distant part of the Puglia region known as the Salento Peninsula. The Salento is hailed as the best rosé producing area of Italy, a theory supported and widespread by Italians themselves. Indeed, Rosa Del Golfo takes its name from the rosé wine that made them famous and still to this day is considered the benchmark of Italian rose wines.

Rosa del Golfo RosatoRosato

The winery possesses two centuries of history, having always been managed by the Calo' family.The hillside vineyards have clay-limestone soils, with characteristic areas of red earth rich in iron, as well as a mild climate which makes the area ideal for growing grapes and olives. It is exactly this "Terra Rossa" (red soils) that are the secret to the structure and complexity of the wines.

"The best rosé of Italy" is the way we have heard it described more than a few times. Fighting words? Perhaps. But this is our War of the Rosés and Italy has thrown down the gauntlet. And just as we prefer a rosé to a rose for Valentines Day, in the spirit of the pen being mightier than the sword, we also prefer it to a hail of bullets.

Which brings us to the Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929. Perhaps more is known about the life of Al Capone than that of Saint Valentine, but it should be pointed out that Alphonse was not Italian: he born in Brooklyn. Had his parents stayed in Italy, he would not have been faced with the dark, dry days of prohibition which is surely what drove him over the edge.


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