Happy Valentines Day. In the spirit of roses, I am thinking rosé for Spring! One of the most food friendly styles of wines, almost time to officially take out the chopping knives, light the grill, and sit in the sunshine. Read further for my three favorite Italian picks of the season… Parusso (acknowledged on the apron in this picture), Nicodemi, and Di Giovanna.
Valentine’s Day has certainly been a reminder for us all to wake up and smell the roses… Rosé season is right around the corner! These young, fresh, vibrant, and blush colored wines represent the purity of the red grape varietal that is often seen in a much more serious form. For instance, the same Langhe Nebbiolo grapes harvested in the Fall of 2012 that make their way into a beautiful Rosato the following Spring will eventually transform into a great Barolo released years later. The opening act to a great performer, prologue to a great novel, sketch to an artist’s masterpiece… I have fallen for rosé and its ability to show the beauty of each vintage almost immediately after coming off the vine. Whereas these more serious reds will have longer contact with the skins and age for much longer periods in oak and bottle, rosé will be pressed after a mere blink moment with the skin. No oak aging allows for a quick release to the market… almost as if we are clipping roses from the garden as they quickly bloom. Similar to flowers, they will tire and wilt so drink up these 2012s before the snow hits the ground later in 2013. As my career has shifted to the Italian importing side, I am naturally partial to this style of rosé that they term ‘rosato’. Below are a few of my recommendations for the season.
Parusso ‘Paruss’ Langhe Nebbiolo Rosato – Piedmont, Italy. If Audrey Hepburn made her way into a wine glass… she would be Parusso Rosato. Elegant, classy, and quite delicate. Notes of roses and orange blossom. Pairs wonderfully with high quality seafood, food with a slightly spicy appeal, and exceptional locally grown produce. Top notch rosato deserves cream of the crop ingredients by its side.
Nicodemi Cerasuolo Rosato – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy. From the DOC ‘Cerasuolo’ in Abruzzo, this bright pink wine has a pretty plum note and truly enough body to stand up to richer meats like grilled pork tenderloin.
Di Giovanna Nerello Mascalese Rosato – Sicily. Completely organic and my favorite value of the season. One of the most unique indigenous varietals grown in Italy, this grape can create complexity that mirrors Pinot Noir. The note of blood orange has become the signature component that I am excited for year after year. I sip on this wine through Thanksgiving!