Italian roses reflect the country’s native grapes and terroirs.
Provencal rosé popularity have caused many wine regions to come up with their own copy. But Italy took it a step further towards authenticity with the creation of Rosautoctono, an organization that promotes the production of rosé using Italy’s original grapes.
Rosautoctono promotes the use of Corvina Veronese, Groppello, Montepulciano, Bombino Nero, Negroamaro and Gaglioppo, grapes already used in dry red wines. The organization consists of seven regional consortia: Chiaretto di Bardolino, Valtènesi Chiaretto, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo (Marche), Castel del Monte Bombino Nero and Castel del Monte Rosato, Salice Salentino Rosato, Cirò Rosato, each offering styles that reflect their climatic conditions and grapes.
In addition to the dedicated organization, other regions and established and new producers come into play with styles and formats for a wide range of occasions — from easy to drink in easy to tote cans to elegant bottles to the table and structured wines that stand up to a variety dishes. Here are a few for late summer and fall.
Villabella 2020, Chiaretto di Bardolino DOC Classico. Made by Corvina and Rondinella on the shores of Lake Garda, this is a pink dry wine with lots of white floral notes, a little fresh salt water and ripe raspberries jumping out of the glass. Drink with the three Ps: prosciutto, pizza or pasta. Or Paella (there are probably four).
Attems 2019, Copper Pinot Grigio, Friuli DOC. Meaning “Coppery”, Ramato is a traditional regional method of making copper-colored wine by prolonged contact with the grape skins, long before the trend of orange wine. Despite the old tradition, the wine is modern with fresh red berries and cheerful, a pure mineral backbone both the wine and the summery packaging transports you to the eastern Italian sea side.
Easter 11 minutes “Odi et Amo” 2020 Rosé Trevenezie IGT. A lot happens with this label: Odi et Amo means “hate and love”, the donut-cut label is adorned with a Victorian wallpaper pattern that you would find in a hipster store; and 11 minutes refers to the time the wine is in contact with its skin. Made from a blend of Corvina (50%) and Trebbiano di Lugana (25%) and smaller amounts of Syrah and Carmenère, it is a light interpretation of rosé from the north.
Agriculture “Bertarosé” 2020, Chiaretto Veneto. Clear, pink with an herbal nose. Very sour palate with a pyrazine profile – green pepper and other notes in the garden, elevated by anise. Made from 75% Molinara, 25% Merlot from a historical producer of Amarone.
Santa Margherita Rosé, 2020, Trevenezie. A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Nero (Noir), this is a pink fresh, super dry wine with lip-based acidity and fresh pink grapefruit. Great alone or with charcuterie, light salads.
Carnations “Komaros” Rosé 2020, Marche IGT. Light pink in color, made from 100% Montepulciano from the east coast of Italy. Dry, light, with lime-blossom cherries and fresh baby strawberries, lemon twist. 12%
San Felice Rosato 2020, Tuscany IGT. Aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries. Slightly sharp in taste with a long finish to a rosé. This structured, medium-sized wine wants to collaborate with Tuscan-inspired food (or your later summer grill). Mixture of 65% Sangiovese and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Masseria Li Veli Flavio -family “Primrosé” 2020, Salento IGT. Made by Negroamaro, this is a crisp clear wine that delivers in quality for the price (about $ 12). Very dry with salty notes, a rhubarb and garden profile and a slightly bitter sour cherry, it is a dynamic rosé that does with a late summer menu.
Masseria Li Veli Askos “Susumaniello” 2020, Salento IGT. Askos is Greek for wine jar and reflects the intention behind this wine to revive ancient production started by ancient Greeks in the region. Comes in a large heavy bottle that sticks to the light, fresh, sour wine inside. Pie young red fruits laced with bright tropical notes of guava and grapefruit.
Torrevento “Veritas” 2020, Castel del Monte DOCG. 100% Bombino Nero. Originating in northern Puglia, it is the first and only rosé to have a DOCG designation. Mandarin and clementine orange notes, small red fruits, sour and fresh with good refreshing acid, slightly tropical: guava and pineapple. I liked this with a grilled summer squash and burrata salad.
Colosi Cantina 2019, Nero d’avola. Deep summer raspberries, smoothed tannins, modern and clean but fruit-concentrated Very juicy, beautiful embossed label, vegan, 14%
Firriato Sands of Etna Rosé 2019. Light mandarin color, with a little tropical fruit, sweet mashed potatoes and mango. Medium-bodied, viscous and creamy, Not like fruit on the palate, but with a smoky, spicy style with wild herbs. Made from Nerello Mascalese grapes.
Planet rosé 2020, Sicily DOC. Very pink in color and a much more intense aromatic nose of white flowers. Very light taste – a “drink, do not think” kind of wine for early summer. 50/50 mix of Syrah and Nero d’Avola
Easy to drink
Rest soul “Raphael” Rosato 2020, Terre Siciliane IGP. Very aromatic with lots of peach and floral notes. On the palate: more peaches, stone fruits, apricots. Made from 85% Zibibbo and 15% Syrah, this is a dry but with a sweeter ripe fruit profile that makes this a good candidate for a spritzer.
Castagnedi Scaia family Rosé 2020, Veneto IGT. Dry light orange-hued wine with lots of tropical notes, peach and stone fruit. Tasty in a spritzer.
Gather Lambrusco, Emilia IGT. A look back at the 60s, but hey, never say never! (and yes, as the ad says, it’s great on ice!) Lots of residual sugar makes this too sweet for my palate, but I enjoyed it before dinner as a spritzer with a twist of lime. A blend of Lambrusco grapes.
Folonari “Fizzy” Rosato, Trevenezie IGT. Dry and dried red fruit in a 250 ml can. Slightly fizzy, this is a simple and fun quaff that with 11.5% can drink all day.