There are a number of myths to debunk concerning rosé wine. First of all, you must know it is not a mix of white and red grapes, but can only be produced through soft pressing of red grapes with an immediate separation of the pomace, or through a short maceration process lasting a few minutes up to 24 hours. Consumption in Italy is still low – although the trend is on the rise – but the amount exported is very high. We shall now present to you a selection of the best Italian rosés, spanning the peninsula from North to South.
Our journey down the Boot starts in the North. The most suitable areas are ones with a cool weather and a morainic soil. Wines made here are sapid, fresh, have a high minerality and a good acidity. Examples are the Chiaretto di Bardolino – produced in the Lake Garda area – and the Lagrein, produced in South Tyrol. Halfway, in the province of Treviso, a rare, very aromatic wine obtained by processing native pink-skinned grapes is produced: the Manzoni Rosa.
In Central Italy, climate conditions and soil quality change: wines are more full-bodied. The dominating vines of the area are the Sangiovese – giving life to a number of Tuscan rosés – and the Montepulciano – the basis of the Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, an excellent rosé with good body, tannin content, and acidity.
The journey through Italian rosés ends with the warmth of the South and its full-bodied, rich wines, often made in volcanic areas. These include the great rosés of the Apulia region, the Cirò of Calabria, and the Etna Rosato, made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes. Fun fact: the firstever Italian rosé was bottled in Salice Salentino (Lecce, Apulia) in 1943, for the Allied Forces. This was how the Five Roses, produced by winemaker Leone De Castris, was born, by anglicizing the name ‘Cinque Rose’ and using recycled beer bottles. Today, the Five Roses – whose English name was maintained – is still one of the top Italian rosés.