YOU SAY ROSÉ, I SAY ROSATO
Don’t panic: you can still get your pink wine fix in winter.
Spent the warmer months going hard on sweet, sweet light-pink rosé and now in need of an antidote? Say “cheers” to rosato, the Italian equivalent that – although technically rosé by any other name – tends to be drier, more savoury and fuller in flavour than French rosé due to the characteristics of the unique Italian grape varietals used in its creation.
While the French stuff is most commonly made in Provence (almost 90 per cent of the region’s wine output is rosé) in the country’s southeast, using mourvèdre, syrah and grenache grapes, Italy’s rosato supply comes largely from Puglia. Many of Italy’s native purple grapes – such as lagrein, sangiovese, montepulciano, barbera, nerello mascalese and canaiolo – are fruitier and more intense than their French counterparts, often resulting in rosatos with heady cherry, cranberry, melon and jasmine notes.
Rosato is usually darker than your millennialpink rosés, too. Though clearer pinks of the French variety have traditionally been favoured over those that fall on the bolder end of the colour spectrum (because a darker colour is often, mistakenly, thought to be a cheaper and more sickly sweet wine), more vibrant rosatos often have more body and intense fruit notes.
Lou Dowling, from P&V Wine And Liquor, a bottle shop in Sydney’s Newtown that specialises in natural and local drops, is a fan, describing rosato simply as “really fucking delicious”. Because of its more substantial flavour, she says, rosato goes just as well “with pizza, at home watching Rupaul’s Drag Race” as it does “with snacky stuff such as cured meats, olives and cheeses”.
Now, select local winemakers are creating their own takes on rosato, using grapes that traditionally grow in Italy’s winemaking regions, but also thrive here. Dowling’s pick? The Giovanni Armani Giorgio Rosato dell’amore, made in the Barossa Valley from 100 per cent nebbiolo, a grape varietal that originates in northwest Italy. “It’s super zesty and has a really jazzy label,” she says, proving that, in this case, judging a book by its cover is a good move.