Over the last decade, summer’s water, rosé wine from Provence, has become extremely popular, having its own national holiday on the second Saturday of June each year. Top celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Post Malone, and even Snoop Dogg have entered into the biz, and now estranged Hollywood power couple Brad and Angelina are involved in the “war of the rosés” over their winery estate Miraval. Without question, the pale pink wine is here to stay.
On my recent, magical trip to Abruzzo, Italy, I was introduced to Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, which is considered Italian rosé by some, but I must note, not by all the winemakers I met. Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, made mainly from Montepulciano grapes, is grown in the lush clay mountain soil, and kissed by the salty sea winds of the Adriatic. This wine really should be distinguished from the more well known rosés of Provence. I would like to suggest to re-brand the wine as ‘ruby rosé’ to describe its rich, cherry red hues.
Described as the region’s “table wine,” Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is bolder than its French cousin, more intense with good acidity, making it pair extremely well with both meat and fish dishes. It’s also perfect to serve with Asian-inspired cuisine.
A highlight of our trip was attending the Grand Tasting Vini d’Abruzzo 2023, where we were invited to take a Master Class led by expert Filippo Bartolotta, who educated the class in the “lightness of Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.” The tasting included Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Fontecupa 2022 Montori, Baldovino 2022 Tenuta i Fauri, Rosa-ae 2022 Torre dei Beati, Bardasce 2022 Tenuta De Melis, Tauma 2022 Pettinella, 2022 Emidio Pepe, and Fosso Cancelli 2020 Ciavolich.
Also during the exclusive event, Chicago-based, Italian wine expert Tom Hyland was presented with the Words of Wine Award, in recognition of a collection of articles he wrote about the wines of Abruzzo. He was one of five honorees, and the only recipient from America.
Hyland comments, “Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo represents the finest of all Italian rosato. With its strawberry/pink color, this is a serious dry rosé that offers greater complexity and richness compared to most examples of rosé.”
I was surprised to learn that most of the Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is consumed within the borders of Italy. My wish is that as with the Provence rosés in recent years, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo will become more readily available in the United States, sold in our shops or listed on our favorite restaurants’ wine lists. And maybe one day soon, we will even celebrate International Cerasuolo Day!