Italian rosés reflect the country’s native grapes and terroirs.
Provencal rosé’s popularity has caused many wine regions to come up with their own copycat. But Italy taken that a step further toward authenticity with the creation of Rosautoctono, an organization that promotes the production of rosé using Italy’s indigenous grapes.
Meaning “native pink,” Rosautoctono promotes the use of Corvina Veronese, Groppello, Montepulciano, Bombino Nero, Negroamaro and Gaglioppo, grapes that are already used in dry red wines. The organization is composed 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 reflective of their climatic conditions and grapes.
Beyond that dedicated organization, other regions and established and emerging producers are getting into the game, with styles and formats for a wide range of occasions—from easy drinking in easy-to-tote cans to elegant bottles for the table and structured wines that stand up to a variety of dishes. Here are a few for late summer sipping and into the fall.
Villabella 2020, Chiaretto di Bardolino DOC Classico. Made of Corvina and Rondinella on the shores of Lake Garda, this is a pale pink dry wine with lots of white flower notes, a bit of fresh saline and ripe raspberries jumping out of the glass. Drink with the three Ps: prosciutto, pizza or pasta. Or Paella (I guess that’s four).
Attems 2019, Pinot Grigio Ramato, Friuli DOC. Meaning “Coppery,” Ramato is a traditional regional method of producing coppery-colored wine by longer contact with the grape skins, long before the orange wine trend. Despite the old tradition, the wine is modern with fresh red beery and cheery, a clean mineral backbone both the wine and its summery packaging transports you to the eastern Italian sea side.
Pasqua 11 Minutes “Odi et Amo” 2020 Rosé Trevenezie IGT. There’s a lot going on with this label: Odi et Amo means “hate and love,” the donut-cut label is adorned with a Victorian wallpaper pattern, like you’d find in a hipster boutique; and 11 minutes refers to the amount of time the wine is in contact with its skins. Made from a blend of Corvina (50%) and Trebbiano di Lugana (25%) and smaller amounts of Syrah and Carmenère, it’s a bright interpretation of rosé from the north.
Bertani “Bertarosé” 2020, Chiaretto Veneto. Clear, light pink with an herbal nose. Very tart palate with a pyrazine profile—green pepper and other garden notes, elevated by anise. Made of 75% Molinara, 25% Merlot by a historic producer of Amarone.
Garafoli “Komaros” Rosé 2020, Marche IGT. Light pink in color, made of 100% Montepulciano from Italy’s east coast. Dry, light, with lime blossom cherry and fresh baby strawberries, citric twist. 12%
San Felice Rosato 2020, Toscana IGT. Strawberry and raspberry aromas and flavors. A little sharp in flavor with a long finish for a rosé. This structured, medium-bodied wine wants to partner with Tuscan-inspired food (or your later summer barbecue). Blend of 65% Sangiovese and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Masseria Li Veli Famiglia Flavio “Primrosé” 2020, Salento IGT. Made of Negroamaro, this is a sharp clear wine that overdelivers in quality for the price (about $12). Very dry with savory notes, a rhubarb and garden profile and some bitter sour cherry, it’s 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 intent behind this wine to revitalize ancient production initiated by ancient Greeks in the region. Comes in a big heavy bottle that belies the light, fresh, tangy wine within. Tart young red fruits laced with bright tropical notes of guava and grapefruit.
Torrevento “Veritas” 2020, Castel del Monte DOCG. 100% Bombino Nero. Hailing from northern Puglia, this is the first and only rosé to earn a DOCG designation. Tangerine and clementine orange notes, small red fruits, tart and fresh with good mouthwatering acid, slightly tropical: guava and pineapple. I liked this with a grilled summer squash and burrata salad.
Cantina Colosi 2019, Nero d’avola. Deep summer raspberry, smoothed out tannins, modern and clean but fruit concentrated Very juicy, beautiful embossed label, vegan, 14%
Firriato Le Sabbie dell’Etna Rosé 2019. Light tangerine color, with some tropical fruit, sweet mashed strawberry and mango. Medium bodied, viscous and creamy, Not as fruit forward on palate, but with a smoky, savory style with wild herbs. Made of Nerello Mascalese grapes.
Planeta rosé 2020, Sicilia DOC. Very light pink in color and a much more intensely aromatic nose of white flowers. Very light palate— a “drink don’t think” kind of wine for early summer. 50/50 blend of Syrah and Nero d’Avola
Poggia Anima “Raphael” Rosato 2020, Terre Siciliane IGP. Very aromatic with plenty of peach and floral notes. On the palate: more peachy, stone fruits, apricot. Made of 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.
Famiglia Castagnedi Scaia Rosato 2020, Veneto IGT. Dry slightly orange-hued wine with lots of tropical notes, peach and stone fruit. Tasty in a spritzer.
Riunite Lambrusco, Emilia IGT. A throwback to the 60s, but hey, never say never! (and yes, as the commercial says, it’s nice on ice!) Lots of residual sugar makes this too sweet for my palate, but I enjoyed it pre-dinner as a spritzer with a twist of lime. A blend of Lambrusco grapes.
Folanari “Fizzy” Rosato, Trevenezie IGT. Dry, and dried red fruits in a 250ml can. Slight fizzy, this is a simple and fun quaff that at 11.5%, you can drink all day.