Friday, July 9, 2021

Rosè from Northern to Southern Italy with the Rosautoctono Movement

I attended a virtual tasting last month as part of the newer Rosautoctono movement.  The aim is to promote Italian rosè wines, always known as rosato or now termed rosa, across Italy from north to south.  Led by Italy’s Studio Cru PR agency and sponsored by the Consorzio di Tutela Prosecco DOC and the Istituto del Vino Rosautoctono Italiano that was founded in 2019 in Roma by Luigi Catardi Madonna, Franco Cristoforetti and Angelo Peretti.  It’s a collaboration of 6 different denominations. Here are the appellations from north to south: 

    • Valtenesi Chiaretto 
    • Chiaretto di Bardolino 
    • Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 
    • Castel del Monte Bombino Nero 
    • Salice Salentino Rosato 
    • Ciro Rosato 

It was stated that Italy produced 10% of the world’s rosè.  Rosè may be increasing in presence in the market, but Italy has been producing “rosa” wines since the Paleolithic era about 8,000 years ago.   

I sampled 6 different rosa wines from 6 different appellations in a variety of styles and native Italian grapes. 

Rosautoctono movement of rosè wines of Italy

Prosecco Rosè DOC 

The newly approved Prosecco Rosè DOC in August of 2020 covers both the regions of the Veneto and Friuli.  The regulations of the Prosecco Rosè DOC will be that up to 15% of the grapes will be vinified pinot noir grapes.  The red and white grapes will be blended prior to the secondary fermentation and will spend at least 60 days in tank via the Martinotti method, also known as the charmat method.   

They presented some eye catching facts stating that in 2020, 500 million Prosecco bottles were produced with only 17 million rosè bottles.  In 2021, the projection is estimated to increase to a whooping 60 million rosè bottles!  The USA is on tap to be the largest importer of these wines so be prepared!   

The Consorzio Tutela Prosecco Rosè DOC Brut Millesimato 2020 was a pale peach color with fresh strawberries and citrus on the nose.  Crisp with citrus and wild strawberries on the palette.  Some minerality on the finish with moderate bubbles.  ABV 11.5% 

Castel del Monte Bombino Nero DOCG 

Castel del Monte is located in the region of Puglia in the southern region of Italy.  Named after the castle located on the hills of the eastern side of Puglia closer to Bari and the Adriatic Sea.  This area has a hot Mediterranean climate, but with cold winters.  Castel del Monte exclusively produces rosa wines made from the Bombino Nero grape and was the first rosè in Italy to receive DOCG status.  This grape is a late ripening grape that is low in sugar and high in acidity.   

The 2020 Torrevento Veritas Castel del Monte Bombino Nero DOCG I have to say this was my favorite wine from the tasting.  A pale peach/coral color in the glass with fresh strawberries on the nose.  It was just an overall pleasant and refreshing rosè with beautiful purity of fruit, mostly strawberries, good body with tingly sapidity on the finish.  ABV 12% SRP $10-15  

Chiaretto di Bardolino DOC Classico  

The area of Bardolino is situated on Lago di Garda, Lake Garda, set at the foothills of the Dolomites with Monte Baldo nearby.  Such a beautiful area if you have never been.  Chiaretto comes from the latin for “vinum clarum”.  Along with Castel del Monte in Puglia, Bardolino Chiaretto is another appellation only producing rosa wines.  Wine has been made in this area since before the Middle Ages so although rosè may be the “hot topic”, some of these regions have a rich history in rosè production.   

The climate of this area is rather mild in the winter with warm and sunny summers moderated by Monte Baldo and the lake breezes.  The soils of the area are rich in magnesium and sodium rich limestone left behind by ancient glaciers.   

I tasted a Chiaretto Classico from Marchesini Marcello and was happy to see this wine as part of the tasting.  I just happened to stumble across this winery years ago in my travels and they weren’t even open when I pulled up, but they had seen my car outside and invited me in for a personal tour and tasting in their cellar.  This is what I love about the Italian culture and people.  They are located in Lazise off of Lake Garda in the Veneto region.    The winery was started by the late grandfather of Marcello whom runs the winery with his 2 daughters.   

2020 Marchesini Marcello Coralin Chiaretto Classico DOC is a blend of the classic native grapes to this area including 30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 20% Molinara and 20% Rondinella.  A pretty pale salmon color with a greenness to the nose that reminded me of Sauvignon Blanc.  Dry on the palette, light bodied- and well balanced showing mostly citrus notes and a little tartness.  ABV 13%  

I have really enjoyed the Chiaretto di Barolino wines no matter how many times I have tried them.  I sampled and enjoyed the 2020 Villabella Chiaretto di Bardolino DOC Classico as well, but need to locate my notes from my tasting and will update once I do.  SRP $15 

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC 

We find ourselves in another designation that is a Rosa only DOC.  The name Cerasuolo that these wines are named after comes from the dialect of “cerasa and the latin word cerasum pertaining to the ripe cherry color in the glass along with the fruit profile.  The production of these wines is larger than some of the prior ones at 6 million bottles.  These are some of the darkest rosè wines in Italy with richer profiles of cherries and strawberries which providing high acidity.   

The 2020 Poderi Costantini Antonio Febe Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC was a beautiful rich pink color with aromas of ripe red fruits including cherry, raspberry and even some hints of orange peel.  Medium bodied and round on the palette with good acidity, cherry flavors. These wines are always heftier in body and depth and I find great when you want a red, but it may be too warm.   ABV 13.5% 

Although I didn’t get to sample some of the other appellations as part of the Rosautoctono movement including those from the Valtenesi Chiaretto, Salice Salentino Rosato and Ciro Rosato I hope to feature them in the future.   

What are your favorite rosa wines from Italy? 

The Italian Consortium led by Chiaretto di Bardolino submitted the new pink emoji to be approved for rosè lovers to share amongst the world.  You can vote to have it added!

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.


  1. Always great Italian wine information! Thank you!

  2. I don't konw much about rosé wines and do not usually buy them or order them at a restaurant. Last summer, however, down in Puglia we tasted one that really changed my mind, Calafuria. The Antinori family are behind it so I suppose that was a guarantee in and of itself. Tormaresca Calafuria Igt Salento 2020 Magnum. Closer to home, here in Frascati, the De Sanctis family (who are friends) have come out with a rosé too, called Onde. I prefer Calafuria but Onde was very nice too: