Despite Rosé now properly being mainstream with the number of choices growing every spring there is scandalously still a Rosé living in obscurity – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is a DOC in central Italy in the region of Abruzzo and within the area designated for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. I believe that this is the only DOC in Italy that is fully dedicated to Rosato or Rosé wines. The DOC was granted in 2010 with the 2011 vintage being the first to brandish the new moniker on the label. Rosé was made in the region for decades previous to 2010 but it was simply labeled as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Rosato.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo must be made with a minimum of 85% Montepulciano and most of the labels that I have sampled are utilizing 100% Montepulciano. As it turns out Montepulciano makes a seriously good Rosé. I suppose that it is not hard to imagine as Montepulciano has always provided great color, bright floral notes, and juicy red fruit with tame tannins.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, like most Rosé, it is best enjoyed the summer following the vintage. However, I imagine that a few of the more sturdy and dark examples that I have seen would do well for another summer. Cerasuolo (cherry-like in Italian) offers bright cherry to violet color with complex aromatics and flavors of red berries with tart pomegranate and great acidity. These wines are equally happy quenching your thirst with nothing more than a glass or pairing with grilled fowl, smoked salmon, and bold vegetable dishes.
At present there are not a lot of Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo to be found in the US but it is worth making an inquiry with your local wine merchant to see if they can locate a few bottles. While many Rosé wines from Provence are suffering from a bit of fame resulting in higher prices and wines that are becoming exceedingly more pale with each new vintage (generally) I am pleased to have great options like Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.