My father used to say I saw the world through rose colored glasses. That’s what it felt like at this latest Vinitaly 2019. Never saw so much rosé in my life!
Ophelia (Macchie Santa Maria, Avellino, Campania) Malgré (Tenuta Scuotto, Campania) Lilianne (Tenute Cuffaro, Sicily, Nero d’Avola)
Not surprisingly, the displays featuring rosés often included flowers, as much for suggesting bouquet as for the spring and summer association with this kind of wine-drinking choice.
The geographic range of rosé takes in all of Italy. Even an established Chianti Classico brand like Castello di Radda (upper left) boasts a rosé! And yes, it is 100% Sangiovese! Caparra & Siciliani’s refreshing Cirò rosé (upper right) is part of a longer tradition of southern Italian rosé wines. Tenuta Tre Cancelli’s Emira (lower left) comes from Lazio and is a Sangiovese-Merlot blend. Villa Raiano’s Orano (lower right) is 100% Aglianico from Campania.
Call it a market trend, call it a fad, this drink pink attitude needs some explanation. Until not so long ago, rosé wines were poopooed in Italy. One region had the corner on pink wine: Puglia.
Here is Varvaglione’s Idea, the third rosé to grace their portfolio, made from Primitivo grapes. (Left: yours truly with Marzia Varvaglione!)
Of course, traditionally, there was the lighter version of Bardolino, something we would call Chiaretto, but that name was never used much outside of Italy.
Three Bardolino Chiaretto: Ca’ Vegar (Cantina Castelnuovo del Garda), Tenuta Villa Cariola (Aldegheri), Bennati I Gadi
In the recently concluded Vinitaly, we found rosés for every region of Italy, sparkling or still, in varying hues of that shade. The prevailing thinking seems to be ‘If this is what the market wants, let’s give it to them!’ No region is without (a pink) taint. Here’s more of what we found:
Mossi 1558 (Emilia Romagna) Semi Croma, bubbly Malvasia Rosa
Vini Venturini (Marche) Lerede, bubbly Aleatico 100%
Artimino (Tuscany) Vin Ruspo, Barca Reale di Carmignano
Maybe not surprising to find that Acqui DOCG has a bubbly rosé… Piedmont
Here’s a rosé extra dry from Bervini. Still bubbly! Raboso and Cabernet make for an interesting blend. Veneto and Friuli.
Tinchité Rosé (and it rhymes!) from Feudo Arancio is a Sicilian wine using the tasty Frappato native grape variety.
While still in Sicily, we’ve got Fazio’s Brusìo (above) as well as Firriato’s Le Sabbie di Etna (or Etna Sands, below), a surprising, delightful expression of the Nerello Mascalese grape.
Piedmont, a heavy-hitting red region, is not afraid to jump on the rosé bandwagon. Here are two Langhe rosés, one from Cereja (left) and one from Fontanafredda (right).
From north to south, it’s a rosé craze!
Left to right: Mezzacorona Lagrein (Trentino), Concilio’s Schiava from the Dolomites (Trentino), Grati’s Rosato di Toscana, and Al-Cantàra’s Amuri di Fimmina e Amuri di Matri Etna rosé from Nerello Mascalese grapes (Sicily). I hear you asking: did you actually taste-test all those new rosés? People, if I had had to sip my way through the new rosés introduced on the market, I would still be in Verona with a glass in my hand!
Even managed to taste with some of the producers:
Yours truly with Nicola Illuminati (Abruzzo), left, sipping a Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, and with Carolin Martino (Basilicata), right, sipping an Aglianico made into yes, rosé!
Even if we were in Verona, there is such a thing as going too far, like this example of exasperated marketing:
With the drink pink attitude that is sweeping the globe, we can expect more manifestations of rosé. But when do we cross the line? When market trends drive enology, when winemakers take a heavy-hitting red grape and turn it pink, is this a case of the tail wagging the dog?
I think it’s also a wink to the buying power of women worldwide: can you imagine a group of businessmen at lunchtime deciding on a bottle of bubbly rosé? I can’t. (I hear you: I need to get some more evolved men into my life!) Another confirmation of what women want in the wine world is this glorious Piper Heidsack packaging spotted in the Munich airport on my way to ProWein:
This is a bottle of champagne in the biggest lipstick holder ever designed: it’s shiny and fun, and clearly intended for a woman champagne-drinker!
Don’t get me wrong: I have always been a fan of rosé, even when it wasn’t fashionable, and I held its (usually Provençal) banner high. And because I’m curious and like to sip, and summer is around the corner (a perfect time of year for this color), all I can say is, Bring it on!