Rosé wines are neither masquerading whites or would-be reds, often offering the refreshing characteristics of a white along with the rich structure of a red. Italy offers a variety of pink-hued possibilities that span the entire peninsula, each deeply tied to their respective terroirs. From Sicily’s volcanic soils to Franciacorta’s morainic amphitheater, there is something for every palate—and dish. As Italian tradition dictates, wine is meant to be enjoyed with food. Here are some Italian rosato suggestions to pair with classic summer fare.
Family owned and operated since 1991, Ferghettina is located in the heart of Franciacorta, where the traditional-method sparkling wine of the same name is made. The winery’s main focus is to maintain the personality of the grapes, enhancing their qualities through minimal intervention and long aging on fine lees—36 months for the Brut Rosé—in square-shaped bottles that aredesigned to increase contact. “Our rosé from Pinot Nero grapes is full of personality, structure and richness,” says Ferghettina Enologist Laura Gatti. “It needs equally strong flavors, like fisherman’s stew in a light tomato broth.”
Mattia Vezzola, considered one of the foremost rosé experts in Italy, has made it his mission to promote this history-rich appellation on Lombardy’s Lake Garda that’s been producing rosés since 1896 by increasing quality production in the area. Daughter Nicole Vezzola reminds us that rosés should be considered a category all their own and for food pairings suggests, “crudi, but also spaghetti with clam sauce and chopped tomatoes—the wine’s savory elements help clean the palate, while boosting the flavor of the clams.”
The Canella family has been making fragrant, accessible Prosecco from grapes grown on hillside vineyards across Northeast Italy for over 70 years. Their rosé happens to be Nicoletta Canella’s favorite. “There’s no better pairing than fried shrimp and calamari,” she says. “The effervescence helps clean the palate, but the wine is light enough, thanks to the Martinotti method, that it doesn’t overpower the delicate flavors of the fish.”
Fantini is a young winery with vineyards in six regions of Italy. Its staff includes several enologists whose expertise covers the many different varieties, terroirs and styles employed. The Montepulciano grapes for the winery’s Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo are picked just shy of peak ripening to maintain the acidity required for a rosé, but late enough to offer the excellent structure of Montepulciano. “It’s perfect for when a simple white isn’t enough and a full red is too much,” says Export Manager Gianni di Naccio. Think raw bars, white meat and especially pizza.
Fantini Gran Cuvée Rosé is made from Aglianico grapes grown in Basilicata, the dry, well-ventilated, semi-mountainous region in Southern Italy. The vineyards are located 900 meters above sea level, which allows the grapes to maintain the acidity required for a sparkling wine while preserving the strength of Aglianico. “A true gem, try sushi, or even whole roasted fish with potatoes, olives and cherry tomatoes,” says Gianni.
Pietradolce is devoted to all things Sicilian, but especially Etnean. The eco-friendly winery complete with rooftop garden is located on Mount Etna, which regularly rears its fiery head. Lava from past eruptions has enriched the soils with an abundance of minerals that lend themselves well to the making of fine wine. Though the winery is young, their vineyards are not—the Nerello Mascalese grapes for their rosé come from 40-year-old vines. “Our rosato has character, prominent minerality and freshness,” says Owner Michele Faro. “It stands up to strong flavors, such as Sicilian-style grilled tuna with sweet-and-sour onions.”
Last Updated: May 8, 2023