An intriguing palette of shades, ranging from pale pink to claret, from cherry to coral pink, to deep pink. It's time to rose wines, after years of being relegated to the role of Cinderella. The queen of production and consumption remains France, but the demand for Italian rose wines (we are the fourth largest producer country in the world), especially abroad, with the United States increasing sales in the last year by + 31.8% in value and + 21.1% in quantity. The enthusiasm of Italian consumers towards the type is still tepid: we are convinced, however, that this distrust derives from the lack of knowledge of the products and of the historical production areas. Here is a small one vade mecum to orient yourself in the offer. In addition, for those wishing to learn more, we recommend the book "The best 100 Italian rose wines" just published by Slow Food Editore.
How they are born
There are four methods to produce rose wines, but before seeing them in detail it is important to remember that the substances that "color" the wine are in the grape skins, while the must is a transparent colored liquid that will take the final shade from the contact more or less prolonged with the skins: to produce pink wines, it will therefore be necessary to start from red berried grapes: depending on the time in which the must is in contact with the skins, it can take on a color that goes from very pale pink to very high pink (and if the contact between must and skins is prolonged for days you will have red wines and not more pink). The shade of the rose depends not only on the contact time between the must and the skins, but also on the grape variety (in fact, there are grapes with greater coloring capacities than others) and on the temperature with which the vinification takes place.
1) from direct pressing: after crushing, the must is immediately separated from the skins; in this case, the color transfer is minimal and there will be an almost imperceptible pink color.
2) with very short maceration on the skins: in this case the contact between must and skins lasts a few hours (usually from 2-3 hours, up to a maximum of 12 hours).
3) with prolonged maceration: it is a production method equal to the previous one, but the contact between must and skins can vary from 12 to 24 hours; in this case there will be more full-bodied and full-bodied pink wines.
4) from drainage: the quality of this type of rose wines is variable, since it is a technique used by those who want to produce more full-bodied and concentrated red wines; the main goal of the producer, in this case, is to produce a good red and not a good pink wine.
Historical production areas
Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Doc, from Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grapes: it was the first Doc of Italy to be destined solely to pink wines, which are round, of good structure and intensely fruity, especially when they are produced near the Adriatic coast.
Cirò Rosato Doc, from gaglioppo grapes: wines of intense color and good structure, which smell of cherry and pomegranate. The sip is tasty and satisfying and the food is very interesting.
Valtènesi Chiaretto Doc, mainly from groppello grapes, with a balance of barbera, sangiovese, marzemino and rebo; the wines smell of rose petals and fruit such as peach, wild strawberry and raspberry; when tasted, they are savory and delicate, with light spicy notes.
Castel del Monte Rosato Doc and Castel del Monte Bombino Black Docg, from bombino nero grapes: fresh and delicate wines, which smell of flowers, red fruits and citrus fruits; they are fragrant and savory when tasted.
Salice Salentino Rosato Doc, from Negramaro and black Malvasia grapes: in this territory the Five Roses of the De Castris company, the first bottled rose wine in Italy, was born. The wines are fresh, well balanced between acidity and softness and great drinkability, with fruity, iodine, citrus and balsamic notes.
Bardolino Chiaretto Doc, from corvina and rondinella grapes (the same ones used for the production of Amarone): wines of very light color and delicate taste, of good sapidity and acidity, with notes of citrus fruits like mandarin and grapefruit, which we add nuances of spices, if drunk after a few years.
The labels not to be missed
Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 2017 Valentini
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Piè delle Vigne 2017 Cataldi Madonna
Cerasuolo dʻAbruzzo Rosa-a and 2018 Torre dei Beati
Cirò Rosato 2018 Librandi
Bardolino Chiaretto Ròdon 2018 Le Fraghe
Bardolino Charetto 2018 Albino Piona
Valtènesi Chiaretto The Drunken Wife 2018 La Basia
Valtènesi Chiaretto Preafète 2018 Podere dei Folli
Castel del Monte Rosato Bombino Nero Pungirosa 2018 Rivera
Castel del Monte Rosato Parchitello 2018 Giancarlo Ceci
Five Roses 2018 Leone de Castris
Girofle 2018 Severino Garofano Vineyards and Cellars
Mjere Rosato 2018 Michele Calo & Figli
The rose wines are very versatile on the table and, depending on the type, lend themselves to accompany most of the recipes of the Italian tradition. They are unbeatable with pizza and fish soups, interesting with pasta dishes, savory pies and vegetarian recipes. Serve between 10 and 12 ° C.