Summertime. Thoughts of beaches and vacations, long dinners under the stars, this is a little of what goes though the mind of an Italian this time of year. Take a moment to think about it. If you are in New York and it is 4PM, somewhere in Italy thousands of people are gathered around a table with friends and family and food and wine. This happens every night in every spot imaginable in Italy. And this time of the year the 2008 rosé wines are appearing on the tables.
Here are a few of the wines we recommend, most selling in stores for less than $20:
From the winery that made Gavi famous. A blend of 95% Cortese and 5% Pinot Noir. This wine I like to call a mini-Tempier after the famous rose from France. Delicate in color with a slightly stronger fruit flavor. This wine actually takes me into the autumn months, where is can also be served with heartier foods. But right now, with casual cuisine, this rose from Piedmont is our lead-off hitter. Retails for $20.
Probably the best value in the bunch, selling for less than $10, this Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot blend is an outdoor concert wine for it has a Stelvin closure, eliminating the need for a corkscrew. The wine is fruity and clean, finishing dry. From Tuscany.
Another Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot blend with 10% Aleatico thrown into the mix, also deeply colored. Italians love deeper red wine, giving them the occasion to drink a wine that is almost red but chilled. Vitiano Rosato sells for well below $15.
90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera di Lecce is a dry rose from sun baked Puglia. This is a wine with a bright color, almost like a sunset. Spicy and refreshing, and great with small plates in the Mediterranean style. I recently had this wine with a Turkish meal and it was amazing. Retails for under $15.
Previewed at Vinitaly, I fell hard for this wine. This winery, famous for the Aglianico del Vulture and an unusual white blend of Muller-Thurgau and Traminer, all the vineyards are grown on volcanic soil in conditions that push the vines to try a little harder. Again, this wine is deeply colored, spicy, and dry. Imagine an Aglianico for the summer months. A little pricier, this one is bumping the $20 price point.
Gaglioppo grapes make this wine, a rich and colorful Rosato. My grandmother’s caponata, a cool eggplant antipasti dish, would match well with the Librandi Ciro Rosato. With all the rose wines that hit the market, this one comes from a region that very few outsiders go to ( like Basilicata) , so this is a little like taking a mini-vacation. The Librandi family is the standard-bearers for the region and this wine is the lead scout for the vintage. Around $17.
Nerello Mascalese grapes from Sicily make a dry but fruit-rich wine. Notes of strawberries and cherries flood the aroma and the flavors. Again a good picnic wine with its high-tech glass closure making for ease of opening and closing the bottle. Retails for about $17.
There you have it, the rosé roll out for the summer, From Piedmont to Sicily.