Jul 31, 2020Chris LaBranche

Until very recently, France seemed to have a monopoly on pink wines. Indeed, when we think rosé, our minds still drift first and foremost to Provence. But, with the explosion of interest in rosé in recent years–a trend we wholeheartedly support–new bottlings of rosé have been popping up all over. We’re here for it, because it means that the bar for great rosé at all price points has never been higher. Case in point is this month’s Montepulciano-based rosato from the heart of Abruzzo. If you can find a Provençal rosé at this price point with this much character, we want to know about it. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that a forward-thinking cooperative like Vallevo could put out such fantastic value wines given the fact that just about every great wine we’ve tasted from Abruzzo in recent memory has been a killer value. It may not be as well-known as Tuscany, but there is just as much wonderful wine to be found here.

This Montepulciano-based rosato reminds us of some of the best, most serious rosés coming out of Provence, oddly enough. With a reductive, mineral-laden nose, this rosato is at its best when drunk cool but not frosty, so as to appreciate the complexity and nuance to be found within–if that’s your thing, of course. The tasting experience highlights notes of saline minerals, wild strawberry, white pepper, and anise. This wine is as versatile as they come, and will be just as comfortable being drunk from proper stemware with a full meal, as it would being drunk from a plastic cup on the beach. Try it with our recipe for Cherry Tomato & Lemon Salad.

Though rosatos broadly popping up across Italy is a more recent phenomenon, Abruzzo is home to what is Italy’s oldest and most famous rosato–Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. Though Montepulciano is generally only known for its reds, Abruzzese winemakers have been crafting robust rosés from Montepulciano in the form of Cerasuolo for generations. Though proper Cerasuolo is often much darker than most rosés, to the point where it is sometimes considered a light red rather than rosato, there’s no question that this is a distinct style from the reds of the region. As such, it’s clear that the potential is there for Montepulciano to produce great rosés and reds, though this month’s selection is a more traditional style of lighter rosato.

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