Rosato: A Rosé by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet #ItalianFWT
#ItalianFWT Relaxes in the Shade with a Cool Glass of Rosato
With all due apologies to Romeo, Juliet and William Shakespeare, Rosato is the Italian name for Rosé. True to Mr. Shakespeare, however, you might also see a pink Italian wine with a name of Cerasuolo or Chiaretto, as all are what we call a Rosé. Our Italian Food, Wine & Travel (#ItalianFWT) group is focusing on Rosato this month, so you can find more recommendations toward the bottom of this post, even if they have a different name!
As in France, Italian Rosato is a tradition in some regions but not others. My Italian and expat friends tell me that Puglia Rosato is the best. Funny, as diligently as I have looked, I have yet to find one from Puglia here in Minnesota. Piemonte, Veneto, Alto Adige, Umbria, Sicilia, Sardegna, no problem. Puglia? Not so much. Hey Joe Kotnik, would you mind swinging through Puglia on your next trip?
Styles and Colors of Rosato
Rosato wines start from red wine grapes and can be made by two main methods:
- Direct – Grapes are usually picked early for freshness and acidity, harvested, crushed, then separated from the skins after a few hours up to a day or two. These are usually the lighter colored rosato’s, ranging from salmon to a mid-orange color. They will be brightly acidic and lighter in body. They can be fruity with tart, fresh fruits, piquant orange peel or watermelon rind aromas. Others are more savory or saline in character. Unfortunately, you can’t tell which by the outside of the bottle. My own preference is for the tart fruit forward flavors.
- Saignée – literally “bleeding” in French. Red wine grapes are harvested as usual for red wine, crushed and left to macerate on the skins. After several days, some of the wine is bled off to finish fermentation and sold the following spring as rosato, the remaining red wine in the vat acquires a deeper color than it would have if all the liquid stayed in tank. Double bonus, as the winery gets income sooner from rosato and a darker red wine (appealing to customers) later on. Saignée rosatos tend to taste closer to a light red wine with red fruit and a medium body.
- Note: the only time it’s legal to mix red wine with white wine for rosé is in Rosé Champagne.
Rosato Wine Pairings
Think easy, fresh summer foods. Salad, light lunches of any sort, picnic meals, even roast chicken and seafood. The foods needn’t be Italian, though they surely can be! For the post today, I started with salad at lunch and finished the rosato with gazpacho during our 1st course at dinner.
Graci Etna Rosato DOC 2014 ($18 at Solo Vino wines)
I’m a member of the camp that avoids too serious analysis of rosato (and rosé) wines. Enjoy their fresh bright character and leave it at that!
Eye: Clear, bright orange in color.
Nose: Clean bright and fresh, but not fruity. Savory and a touch saline.
Mouth: Refreshing acidity, savory and just a suggestion of something saline, like the salt air near the coast.
#ItalianFWT Finds and Ideas
Join our Italian blogging group this Saturday, August 6 at 10am CDT on Twitter at #ItalianFWT to chat about Rosato wines from Italy.