Summer in a bottle. That’s what rosé wines are for me, and they are unbeatable on a warm summer day. Even though the truth is, thanks to a greater complexity rosé has reached in recent years, they are now a year-round choice, and one that needs to be taken seriously at the table too.
While we can thank France’s Provence region turning rosé wines into a real institution, the huge popularity they now enjoy around the world means, excellent rosés are now made everywhere wine is made.
So why not look beyond Province and stock your fridge and cellar with some nice rosé wines from Italy?
Background: Rosé wines of Italy
Rosé wines might have been an afterthought in Italy for a long time. But no longer.
These days, excellent rosés (or rosato as they are called in Italian) are made across all of Italy’s winegrowing regions, from north to south and east to west.
Coming from all the different regions, Italy’s rosés are quite diverse in style, made from a wide range of different native grape varieties and they come in a large variety of different pink hues, from light and pale through to an intense, dark, almost reddish colour.
And while the latest batch of Italian rosés offers excellent quality, they are still rather budget friendly.
Rosé wine and food pairing
Rosé is generally a very versatile wine and will pair to a large range of food.
That said, rosés are made from different grape varieties, and this will have a certain influence on what best to pair with a particular bottle.
Yet, there are some general pointers when considering what to pair with rosé.
The lighter style of rosé wines are generally great with more delicate food like salads, starters and charcuterie. They also tend to go well with more delicate fish dishes, pasta, and quiche.
Fuller-bodied rosés with a more pronounced fruit structure also pair well with grilled or roasted meats as well as a bit of spice.
Five excellent rosé wines from Italy
Below, I have selected five rosé wines from Italy I am currently drinking. Coming from different regions across Italy, they are a great cross-section of the different styles that you can find in the country today.
Schreckbichel Colternizo – Lagrein Rosé
I am glad wines from South Tyrol are now a series part of the Italian winegrowing scene. I do remember the region so well from visits when I was still a kid (which means, a long time ago), and it’s absolutely stunning. Yet at the time, wine was a mere numbers business and quality often took a backseat. Today, there are some really outstanding wineries, making award-winning wines, and this includes some really nice rosés coming from the area.
South Tyrol is also still an area with a high number of wine co-operatives, often combining a large number of local winemakers.
Colternizo is one of the newer wine co-operatives in the South Tyrol area, comprising some 300 families which in some case produce wine on a secondary occupation.
Lagrein is one of the native grapes of the South Tyrol region and indeed one of the flagship wines coming from that area. Typically full-bodied, red Lagrein is a stunning dark, intense red.
Off course, skin contact for the rosé is limited to a short time – just a few hours – but still the Schreckbichel Lagrein Rosé is a very rich cherry-pink with raspberry-coloured reflections. It offers aromas of plums, sour cherries, and pears. Spicy, juicy, with a hint of minerals it’s accompanied by a bittersweet play of berry aromas.
An ideal summer wine that pairs well with cold cuts, smoked, fried, or grilled fish, pasta and white meats.
Vivaldi – Chiaretto, Bardolino DOC
Looking beyond the most famous winegrowing regions, Tuscany and Piemonte, the Veneto area is perhaps among the still fairly well-known Italian wine regions.
Valpolicella, home of Vivaldi Wines, is nestled between Lake Garda and nearby Verona. The area is particularly known to make the famous for Amarone, Ripasso and Appassimento wines and these are also among the flagship wines of Vivaldi.
Bardolino wines come from the vineyards located in the specific area of Bardolino directly on the shores of Lake Garda and are perhaps among the most popular every-day wines from Italy. They come in various styles, from white to red and indeed rosé.
In fact, around Lake Garda, rosé wines have a fairly long tradition. Chiaretto, which means clear or pale was already made in the area at the end of the 19th century. Thus, it is one of the earliest rosé wines produced in the whole of Italy.
The Chiaretto Bardolino DOC is an intense salmon pink. It has aromas of fresh strawberry, red currents and a hint of raspberry. Full, well-balanced, and fresh.
Cantina Zaccagnini – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo
Located in Bolognano close to Pescara, in the Abruzzo region if Italy, family-owned Cantina Zaccagnini is one of the leading wineries from the Abruzzo region, making a large range of different wines.
The distinctive design with the cord and wooden stick is seen on the majority of their bottles.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo has a strong raspberry-coloured glow. It brims with intense scents of strawberries, raspberries, cherries, red forest fruits, plums, apricots and pineapples, followed by nut brittle and fine herbs and spices. Fine, elegant, and fresh, it’s a tart-dry and balance wine with a soft, medium body, integrated fruit acid and pleasant tannins offering flavours of cranberries, pomegranate, almonds, and earthy tannins.
Petra – Belvento Velarosa
With the pink flamingo prominently featuring on the bottle, one might initially put the origin of this wine into Provence in France, but this one comes from Tuscany’s Maremma area.
Petra Wine is owned by experienced vintner Vittorio Moretti, owner of renowned Franciacorta wineries Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi.
He build Petra winery in his native Maremma region, which is led by his daughter Francesca. The winery stands for organic farming and production practices.
The stunning cellar building was designed by Italian star architect Mario Botta.
Velarosa literally translates into pink sail, thus I guess the flamingo on the bottle. Then again, the Belvento wine range is inspired by the maritime identity and the wild nature of Maremma area of Tuscany, spotting many different animals on the bottles.
A soft pink, the wine offers floral aromas of acacia and wisteria blossom followed by gentle hints of raspberry, pomegranate, and orange. It presents itself fresh, spicy and slightly balsamic and salty finish.
Varvaglione – 12 e Mezzo, Rosato di Salento
Founded exactly 100 years ago, in 1921, Varvaglione is one of the oldest wineries in the southern part of Italy. Based in Leporano on the Gulf of Taranto, in the famous Salento region in Puglia, Varvaglione today is managed by the 4th generation of the founding family.
The 12 e Mezzo Rosato die Salento is made from 100% Negroamaro grapes.
A pale pink colour with violet reflections and stimulating scents of strawberries, raspberries, and white flowers. Lively and refreshing but also soft and elegant, with fruity and floral flavours. Persistent finish.
It’s a wine ideal with starters, fish, pasta and cheese.
Are you familiar with Italian rosé wines? Let me know which one is your favourite.