And they're all Italian...
What exactly is rosé wine and why is it trending right now?
First of all a good rosé wine is just plain delicious! The younger generation of sophisticated wine drinkers understand this and rosé wine is what they're buying and drinking.
A rosé wine incorporates color from the grape skins. It's perhaps the oldest known type of wine, and easy enough to make with the skin contact method.
Although Italy has been making rosé wine forever it's always been a wine maker's family wine – made for family parties or for the nonna. It came into its own in part during the pandemic because it was widely available.
France has been producing lovely rosés for awhile, particularly in the Provence region, and Loire. What Italy has that France doesn't have are the indigenous year-round grapes that make wonderful rosé wine. Italian rosés are better with all foods - even spicier foods that are generally hard to pair.
In my chat with my go-to sommelier Cynthia Chaplin about Italian rosé wine she said that although Italy is a bit late to the rosé wine party it's producing some spectacular rosé wines that you have to try.
By the way, keep your eyes peeled because Cynthia is finishing up a fabulous book all about Italian rosé wine.
You may already love rosé wine but if you don't give it another try; it's definitely evolved and many Italian rosés pair well with almost any food and can stand up to a good red wine at any table.
These 12 Italian rosé wines are exactly where you have to start!
1. ) Rosa, Conti Thun Winery
A limited edition, age-worthy rosé in a heavy black glass bottle, elegant and sophisticated enough for the fine dining table. From the Conti Thun winery in Lombardy.
2.) Mea Rosa, produced by Lunae
Mea Rosa is a rosé wine made from Vermentino Nero grapes from Liguria. This grape almost went extinct and was brought back to life by the winery, Lunae. Cynthia Chaplin loves this wine so much that one of the winery owners, Diego Bulsoni, has jokingly said her picture should be on the bottle!
Paolo Bosoni says "Each Lunae wine has been created to convey the distinct characteristics of our traditional grapevines. Our philosophy is to amplify the voice of nature, harnessing the natural resources that our territory has provided."
This rosé has a fresh and delicate profile, great paired with fish dishes and white meats. Callmewine says "It has scents of small red fuits and aromatic herbs. The flavor is light and fresh, with smooth and pleasant mineral tones."
3.) Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo DOC
This wine from the Abruzzo region is made from the red Montepulciano grape. Decanter says "Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is for wine lovers who are bored of the endless Provence-style rosés, or who enjoy lighter reds...Thanks to its intense, tannic character with good acidity, this rosé is a great companion for food: from lobster bisque to a Serrano ham and pomegranate salad..."
4.) Montenidoli Toscana Rosato Canaiuolo 2021
Elisabetta Fagiuoli has been making wine for the past 50 years near San Gimignano in Tuscany. Her pale rosé is made with the canaiolo grape, a grape that's generally used as a blending grape with sangiovese. The wine is versatile with food, with fine mineral flavors. It "has the gentleness of a white and the strength of a red; a perfect rosé. Young and fresh...with time it becomes a really good wine for food."
The bouquet opens with raspberries and violets, progressing to orange blossoms and citrus; it's very cherry-based - think springtime crunchy cherries, with some floral notes, and notes of violet.
In the United States it's available through Polaner Selections, Mount Kisco, N.Y.
5.) Gioiellae rosé
One of the producers in the Consortium Chianti Rufina, northeast of Florence, is producer Ormae Vinae. Their 100% San Giovese grape rosé is seductive and savory, with high acidity: Gioiellae.
"Notes of red grapefruit, fresh strawberries, roses and ripe pomelo aromas. Aromas are complimented with fresh crisp acidity finishing with a delicate orange zest and honeysuckle on the palate."
It received the Silver Medal Vintage 2020 International Rosé Championship 2021 award.
6.) Sicilian Producer Donna Fugata Rosé: Rosa Dolce&Gabbana and Donnafugata
Sicilian based producer, Donna Fugata, makes some wonderful rosés, some made in collaboration with Dolce Gabbana in stunning, gorgeous bottles.
Rosa Dolce&Gabbana and Donnafugata Rosa is made with Nerello Mascalese and Nocera grapes, has a "bright pale pink color, an elegant bouquet of jasmine and rose petals, delicate fruity notes of peach and white-fleshed fruits."
Also try the Donna Fugata Brut Rosé wine made with Pinot Noir grapes...an antique pink color, "characterized by an elegant and distinct bouquet. It offers tertiary notes of bread crust combined with delicate fruity hints (pink grapefruit) and spices. In the mouth it combines freshness and good structure, with a pleasant return of fruity sensations and a savory vein with long persistence."
Donna Fugata is part of the Cerasuolo di Vittorio consortium - the first to produce DOC and DOCG wines in Sicily.
Puglia's grapes - negroamaro and primitivo - are thicker skinned so they don’t get sunburned. Negroamaro rosés have a tanniny structure. Puglia is well-known for its rosés.... a darker color, with sea salty tangy-ness.
7.) 5 Roses Rosé wine, produced by Leone De Castris
This was the first rosé wine bottled and sold in Italy, in 1943. It's made with 90% Negroamaro and 10% Black Malvasia.
During the war available glass production went to the war effort.
American soldiers had their own beer bottled in classic brown beer bottles that they discarded after drinking. The Marchese Piero Leone de Castris and his workers collected the discarded brown beer bottles on the streets and used them to bottle his rosé wine to celebrate his son's 21st birthday party. The American soldiers and generals at the party loved the wine so much they bought it all and shipped it back home. The wine is delicious, and was bottled in familiar bottles, so it was a win-win!
8.) Calafuria Tormaresco Rosé
The luscious Puglia rosé wine, Calafuria Tormaresco Rosé, (owned by Antinori) is made with negroamaro grapes. It's a delicate rosé, pleasantly fruity, with sapid notes.
Town and Country says it's "an Italian escape in a bottle, this summery rosé is made from hand-picked Negroamaro grapes, a varietal native to the Puglia region. The flavor brings a cornucopia of red fruits and zippy grapefruit with a whiff of florals that will transport you right to the Italian coast."
Sparkling Rosé Wines
Ferrari Perlé Rosé wine is made with 80% Pinot Nero grapes (pinot noir) and 20% Chardonnay in high altitudes and mineral soils. It's made using the classic or champagne method: aged in bottles. Look for apricot jammy brioche notes in this sparkling rosé. It's a skillful blend that "seduces palates with its refined distinction and aristocratic persistency".
Cantine Ferrari was founded in 1902 in Trento by Giulio Ferrari. "The Lunelli family, which has run it since 1952, controls every phase of production, from the soil to the table. The Trentino terrain is cultivated with passion and respect thanks to sustainable mountain agriculture. Ferrari has always been a symbol of the Italian art of living and accompanies the most important moments of the institutional and cultural spheres, as well as the worlds of show business and sport."
10.) Brut Rosé, by Monsupello
This winery is located in southern Lombardia on the Po river. It's one of the many delicious wines from the Oltrepò Pavese area of the Province of Pavia, in the north-west Italian region of Lombardy, south of the river Po.
Monsupello describes this sparkling rosé as having a medium deep salmon pink color,
and a fine and very persistent perlage. The bouquet has a well-developed nose, fruity, fine and elegant, with distinct hints of yeast, ripe apple and rose. The flavor is dry with a pleasant freshness and a good persistence and structure to the palate.
Here are some tours for wine-lovers in Lombardia:
11.) Jeio Prosecco Rosé DOC
Prosecco DOC - the eponymous sparkling wine named after the town Prosecco - is made with local white Glera grapes.
At the end of 2020 the Prosecco Consortium allowed a sparkling rosé wine to join the club. Up to 15% Pinot Nero grapes are added to the Glera grapes for the color that creates this fabulous Prosecco Rosé DOC.
This Jeio Prosecco Rosé DOC is produced by Bisol, also maker of the Venice island wines.
It's made with 85% Glera grapes and 15% Pinot Nero, locally sourced. "It's delicate and brilliant with a very fine, lively perlage. On the palate it's soft and balanced, clean-cut, distinct and elegantly penetrating. On the nose it's floral - rose and lily of the valley, with a fresh citrus fragrance."
Subtly balanced shades of a Franciacorta Rosé from Pinot Nero grapes.
This outstanding sparkling Franciacorta produced by Bellavista has a lovely rose gold color. Wild strawberries, rose petals, apple and citrus, raspberry jam and fresh croissant notes.
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If you love Italian wines here's more great information for you:
- If you are a wine lover staying in Venice these are the best local wines you have to try, plus 4 incredible wineries you can reach in a delightful day trip my car or train.
- Are you visiting Rome this summer? Check out the top guide for the best Lazio region wines. Also, here's a great local Lazio winery to visit, Jacobini.
- Dante's 700 year old Alighieri winery estate.
- Leonardo da Vinci's Winery.
- The best of the Valtenesì Lake Garda wine region.
- Piedmont red wines and three of the lesser known reds to check out
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