Allegrini 2018

The future of Italian rosés is going to be synergy, promotion, awareness, identity and marketing

Comments on the subject from the Consortiums Valtènesi, Chiaretto of Bardolino, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Castel del Monte, Salice Salentino, and MoW Gabay
The future of Italian rosés is going to be synergy, promotion, awareness and identity

The future of rosé and claret wines from the native vine to the denomination of origin lies in a common promotion that has united a quintet of Consortiums - Valtènesi, Chiaretto of Bardolino, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Castel del Monte and Salice Salentino. The quintet has entered into an agreement last April to achieve this goal when they met and exchanged views in a master class during the summit on rosés at the “Italia in Rosa” (Italy in pink) festival in Moniga del Garda (June1-3) dedicated to the world of rosé wines. The agreement is definitely necessary to spread the culture and knowledge of these wines that are not that well known abroad, while in Italy they are actually low priority, almost without an identity, just there in the middle, undecided, sitting between the reds and whites. Twenty million bottles of denomination wines is the critical mass that offers not only numeric, but also “cultural” consistency on foreign markets where rosé wines are experiencing a boom in consumption. This, however, is not the case in Italy, even though we are, according to the OIV 2016 estimates and considering the total production of rosés, the fourth producing country. In Italy, only 6 bottles consumed out of 100 are rosés, and the tendency is on the down side, considering that most of it is consumed by the foreigners that crowd the shores of Lake Garda and Italian seasides. On the contrary, in France, which is the number one producer, rosé is worth 34%. Consumption is growing also in the US (where production is increasing), Germany, Great Britain and interest is growing in Canada and South Africa as well.
“The Agreement we have entered”, said Alessandro Luzzago, president of the Valtènesi Consortium, “has a highly symbolic and fundamental value - to be united historically, and utilizing native grapes is undoubtedly the winning road to take. The establishment of this group”, said Valtènesi, “is the result of the first harvest when all the producers worked together under one name, as well as the need to find a place in the world of rosés. We will also start benefiting from the continuous growth of Italia in Rosa (www.italiainrosa.it), which is no longer just a review of rosé wines, but it is an important moment of synthesis and reflection, as the meetings organized over the years have demonstrated. The participation of Elizabeth Gabay, the only experienced Rosé wine Master of Wine, in this edition, gave us the opportunity to listen to the influential voice of who sees us from the outside and compared us with a few non-Provence French rosé wines she selected. Next year we will present the results of the five-year study on our rosé wines from Valténesi, carried out by the Center du Rosè of Vidauban in France, the goal being a more in- depth understanding, certainly not mimicking French rosés”.
“We have a great historical tradition In Italy. We produce rosé wine, however, we do not recognize or identify it within our wine world”, said Angelo Peretti, in the dual role of journalist and director of the Bardini Wine Consortium, “which explains why we are in last place in the ranking of consumers in the Western world. This is the reason why we must begin a new season under the sign of true “Rosé Pride””.
And, there are many reasons to be proud of it, as Elizabeth Gabay pointed out. “I have found several and truly amazing rosé wines in Italy that came from production experiences preceding red wine production”, commented the Master of Wine, author of the book “Rosé: Understanding the pink wine revolution”, which is a testimony that the historicity and tradition of rosés are a reality. In the last twenty years Provence has built the success of its rosés by stating that they have been producing them for 2000 years there. And who, if not the Romans, produced them there?” indeed, as Peretti underlined, the last territories the Romans conquered were precisely Gallia Cisalpina, where Lake Garda is situated, and Gallia Transalpina, which includes Provence. Further, the Romans also introduced the wine press; therefore, since there was very little contact with the skins, it was possible to produce only rosé wines.
“Rosé wines”, continued Gabay, “have to pay the price for the variability in their color, which are due to vintages and types of vinification as well as mixing grapes and white and red wines. The description of the color is always first and foremost, while taste is left in the background. Trends and habits are also important for wines. Years ago reds were very full-bodied and substantial, while this is not the case anymore. Today, the production of Provence rosés is dictating the trend – while thirty years ago they produced rustic wines, now they have turned to lighter and finer wines. If you do a search on social networks about rosés you will see beautiful girls in bikinis holding glasses of pale pink wine, the reference color markets now appreciate the most, especially the American one. However, trends are not stable or long-lasting; so, though today maybe only a small number of consumers rotate fuller colored wines in their glasses, the situation could change quickly. This is the reason it is essential to maintain one’s identity. If the focus remains on the Provencal style the risk is selling at cheaper prices. Italy is rich in native varieties and traditions in its different regions, and therefore, first it is imperative to study and get to know its rosés, then they must promote them”. And, it must be done quickly, since other wines are quickly taking up space. On an important market like Great Britain, “Pinot Grigio Blush”, warned Gabay, “is so well-known as to be considered an Italian rosé”.
Meanwhile, in Italy rosés are classified as red wines”, even legislation does not take them into due consideration; therefore, the only quantifiable productions are the denominations. Lake Garda has become the most important production center of Bardolino Chiaretto - 11 million bottles, which are the result of an ad hoc project to differentiate the production of rosé from that of Bardolino red in the vineyard, and the launch of a specific requirement - and Valtènesi that makes 2 million bottles. Then, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, producing 6-7 million bottles, and the two Apulia rosés Castel del Monte and Salice Salentino at around 500.000 bottles each.
“We know the numbers of the DOCs”, said Carlo Alberto Panont, director of Consorzio Valtènesi and expert in the “architecture” of the denominations, “but we do not know those of other Italian rosés. Therefore, even for exports there are no sure data and we must make assumptions. Regarding the DOC rosés, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, around 60% of Bardolino Chiaretto is exported. For the Valténesi, on the western shore, it is estimated that companies producing over 100.000 bottles will export 30%. Smaller companies do not export very much, but they have an important influence on direct sales in the winery, which is thanks to foreigners that buy and also order discrete quantities”. In other words, it is a sort of “passive export” that is growing as well as guiding and changing some companies’ choices, such as Pasini San Giovanni, which is focusing more and more on direct sales, and a broader view of corporate sustainability. When there are fewer airplanes to take, fewer kilometers to drive to conquer market positions, there are also lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Exporting Apulia’s rosés, Castel del Monte and Salice Salentino, is the prerogative of a few large companies, although the numbers are small (estimated around 15%) and production is as well. “In the 90’s, an important channel toward Germany had opened up for Castel del Monte rosé, but then it ended”, pointed out Sebastiano Spagnoletti Zeuli of Cantina Vignuolo di Andria (Bari). White wine does not exist for us, and rosés, like reds, are consumed on site”.
“In regards to Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo”, explained Francesco Labbrozzi, president of the Colle Moro Winery of Guastameroli di Frisa (Chieti), “the proportion between exports of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Cerasuolo is 100 to 6, and while red wines are often re-ordered, Cerasuolo is not. The demand for pink-colored rosés is particularly high, especially from the United States, so much so that we are about to launch a new wine produced from Montepulciano grapes together with a native white grape. We need to work on two levels here. On one level, safeguarding Cerasuolo, our historical heritage that the autonomous DOC has guaranteed for many years, and on the other, more practical level, produce TGI rosé and table wines that the market demands”. And, this demand might be accepted very soon, as soon as the rosé typology becomes part of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC specifications.
The majority of the “other” Italian rosés have much higher export percentages and large quantities of bulk wine go to France - which is not only the number one producer, but also the number one importer of rosés – also to pair with fruit in wine-based beverages.
“Italia in Rosa” has attracted thousands of people and this year 160 wineries participated promoting 220 wines from Valtènesi in Garda, Puglia, Abruzzi, Tuscany, Calabria, Campania, Lombardy, Trentino Alto Adige and a touch of Provence. “We are satisfied”, said Luigi Alberti, president of “Italia in Rosa”, “because our goal to propose rosés to new generations in the name of a conscientious and quality tasting has been achieved, judging by the number of young people that participated. It demonstrates that wine & food has become an increasingly important and decisive element for a territory such as Garda that accommodates 28 million tourists a year”.

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Focus - Our top tastings at “Italia in Rosa”
Bardolino Chiaretto Doc Eavent Shent 2017 Villabella Vineyards
Pale pink color as expected of a rosé produced from Corvina (80%) and Rondinella (20%) grapes low in anthocyanins. Elegant nose in which citrus notes prevail. In the mouth it is full and sapid, recalling the soil of the Morainic hills, rich in dolomina as well as magnesium, and beautiful acidity. After salivation, there is a wild fruit flavor and the mouth is dry due to the tannins in the finish. Gold medal at the Mondial du Rosé 2018.

Valtènesi Chiaretto Doc 2017 Cantine Scolari
Light pink color, from Groppello grapes, Barbera Sangiovese and Marzemino. The strawberry note as well as the pink grapefruit characterizes Groppello. Full in the mouth, good salinity and acidity, like the Bardolino Chiaretto thanks to the origin of the soil. Groppello matures earlier and is less tannic than Corvina, which is why Valtènesi wines are enjoyable already in February, after the harvest. Winner of the Molmenti 2018 Trophy (for the second time).

Castel del Monte Bombino Nero Docg Pungirosa 2017 Rivera
It is the only DOCG rosé. The color is light cherry pink. Rosehip and cherry prevail in the nose. In the mouth it is soft and structured, with a nice acidity and intense fruit. Persistent. Bombino (100%) is the grape par excellence for rosé: it matures late and not uniformly, conveying a balanced mix of aromas, color and acidity.

Salice Salentino Negroamaro Rosato Doc Rosalbòre 2017 Cellars San Pancrazio
Cherry color as expected from Negroamaro (here 100%). The nose is intense with red fruits, raspberry and cherry and nuances of aromatic herbs. Full in the mouth, it confirms ripe fruit and good acidity.

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Doc Baldovino 2017 Estate I Fauri
Cherry red color, just like Cerasuolo should be, from 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes. It is intense in the nose, where the vine is strong, with a predominance of red fruits. In the mouth the fruits, cherry in particular, are crispy. It is structured and tannic.

Ronchi di Brescia PGI L’Aura 2017 Noventa
Pale pink in color produced in Botticino (Brescia) from 100% Schiava Gentile, a vine traditionally cultivated in this area. Strawberry stands out in the nose. In the mouth it is fresh and characterized by a particular flavor coming from the soil of marl (limestone and clay) on which the vines grow.

Salento PGI of Primitivo di Manduria PGI Tramari Rosé 2017 Cantine San Marzano
Made from 100% Negroamaro grapes, it has a pink onionskin color. Persistent nose of red fruits, cherry and pomegranate, and aromatic notes of Mediterranean scrub that make it particularly original and interesting. In the mouth it is fresh and savory, balanced and elegant.

Murgia Primitivo PGI Est Rosa 2017 Agricole Pietraventosa
Made from Primitivo (85%) and Aglianico (15 %) grapes, it has a deep pink color and a ripe fruit nose, including Williams’s pear and apricot. In the mouth it is elegant, full and savory.

Beaujolais Rosé Dominique Piron 2017 (France)
Produced from Gamay grapes it is pale pink in color. In the nose, cherry as well as notes of mint and in the mouth the typical minerality of the production area. Tannic finish.

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