photography by PHUONG NGUYEN
It’s official—we’ve all gone totally gaga for rosé. According to recent research by Neilsen, consumption of pink adult juice grew by 57 percent over the past year—far outpacing the overall wine category. This seemingly infinite demand has surely injected a fresh bout of credibility into the popular adage, “Rosé all day.”
The effects of this rosé renaissance has, however, not been equally distributed across wine-producing regions. The lighter, salmon-colored stuff (typically from the south of France) has dominated the American market, while darker-colored styles—of which Italy is responsible for a decent chunk—tend to remain relegated to the back of the shelf.
Part of the reason for this tragic state of affairs is grounded in the common misconception that color is synonymous with quality. In reality, there is little truth to this myth—all the color indicates is the amount of time the juice has been in contact with the skin of the grapes.
So, rosato is often overlooked because of its vivid hue. What is rosato, you ask? It’s actually just what Italians call their rosé—the only difference being it’s way darker, considering it’s made with indigenous grapes rarely seen outside of Italy. But with the weather transitioning to cooler nights, here’s why you should give the full-bodied rosato a try.
For one, its richness makes it so much more than just a casual party wine. Its body and intense fruity notes make rosato a fine pairing for grilled steak, pork chops, lamb, chicken, and almost anything else fresh off the grill. Expect intense aromas and notes of ripe summer fruits, with a refreshing, tangy finish.
If you consider rosé season to be a year-round event (like us!), rosato should be your best friend. Warming flavors, gentle spiciness, and soft tannins make it the perfect partner once temperatures begin to drop, and coats are yanked from the back of the closet.
In addition, the variation within the rosato family will constantly excite you. Rosato can be made from a wide variety of indigenous Italian grape varieties—nebbiolo, sangiovese, aglianico, negoamaro, and chiaretto, to name a few—and each has its own unique expression and flavor. It’s also made in regions with varying climates across the country, from cooler Veneto to hotter Sicily. So, expect each rosato you drink to be an adventure in and of itself.
If you don’t know where to start, allow us to offer a few suggestions. Each one of these bottles is completely different, but equally refreshing.
Terre Siciliane Rosato IGT “Lumera”
This rosato is as similar to a rosé as you can get—think fruity notes of pomegranate and strawberry, along with some delicate flowery touches. It’s perfect for pairing with a light seafood meal.
Castello Della Paneretta Rosato Toscana IGT
Darker and crisper, this rosato has been created using Canaiolo grapes, known for their rich aftertaste.
Rosato Dell'aiola IGT
Noted for its rich ruby color, this rosato boasts a darker hue. It provides a coffee-like aftertaste, citrus touches, and a smooth flavor.