Wine lovers, brunch goers, pool partiers, and backyard barbecuers gather round: Your official wine of the summer has arrived, fresh from Italy. Prosecco rosé just made landfall for the first time, and it’s here to take summer by storm. Prosecco rosé got its clearance last year, but through some technicalities wasn’t allowed to hit shelves until 2021.
The Italian government gave Prosecco rosé denominazione di origine controllata status (DOC) in 2020, but bottles with that status weren’t actually hitting the market last year. This is the first spring and summer we’ll have a rosé version of Prosecco.
What separates Prosecco rosé from other sparkling wines is a specific set of requirements laid out by Italian government. It must use 85 to 90 percent glera grapes, and 10 to 15 percent pinot noir. The wine’s second fermentation (the one that gives it bubbles) must be done in the Charmat or Martinotti Method, for a minimum of 60 days in a steel tank. For context, that’s twice as long as normal Prosecco. Oh, and it must be a certain grade of pink.
These requirements give Prosecco rosé a particular flavor profile. “The use of pinot noir and the extended fermentation imparts a creamy red fruit note, which varies among producers, all while still embodying the crisp, fresh notes of white flowers, yellow apple, pear, and apricot that so many enjoy in Prosecco,” says Juliette Murphy, wine director for One10 Restaurant & Lounge, an upscale modern Italian steakhouse on Long Island, NY, and certified court of masters sommelier with over 10 years experience.
Doing the fermentation in steel tanks likewise has an effect: softer bubbles. “[The steel fermentation] results in fresh, fruit-forward, aromatic sparkling wines,” explains Murphy. “Wines that are made using the Charmat method have less pressure in the bottle and in turn are softer than wines made using the traditional method.”
Prosecco is big business, especially in the U.S. which accounts for 24 percent of the total global market, according to the New York Times, which noted of the 28 Prosecco rosé producers exporting at the time, only a few have made it to the U.S. market yet.
According to Murphy, Prosecco rosé should be consumed young, “within three years of the vintage date, just as with regular Prosecco and many other sparkling wines made using the Charmat method.”
It may not be recommended for long term cellaring, but what these wines may lose in future potential, they make up for in versatility. Prosecco’s versatility, “has been evident for years, as it not only drinks great on its own, but makes for a wonderful partnership with spirits, i.e. The Spritz,” according to Murphy.
Murphy says the rosé adds versatility with red berry notes, which mix “wonderfully” with Aperol and elderflower liqueur. She also recommends it served chilled in a bordeaux glass instead of a Champagne flute for a more complete experience. Murphy also recommends serving rosé Prosecco with a garnish. Try a lemon or orange peel, or a sprig of mint.
“Rosé on its own invokes a notion of sunshine and warm weather,” says Murphy, “and often transports you to places like the French Riviera or the Hamptons. It’s also the drink of choice for celebrations. Combine the two and you have a recipe for a good time!
One of the first and best bottles to market so far is Mionetto Prosecco Rosé DOC. The tasting notes alone shout summer. Aromatically a “fruity bouquet with evident notes of honey, berries, and citrus,” Murphy says. On the palate, “well-balanced acidity with refreshing notes of red berries and grapefruit with elegant fine bubbles.”
The color: summer sunset over water. The alcohol level: an easy-going 11 percent.
Murphy says Mionetto Prosecco Rosé DOC is a “great choice to drink on the beach or poolside, either on its own or mixed in a cocktail.” It pairs well with salads, salmon, burrata and tomatoes, or even a strawberry crostata.
At $15, it’s a volume wine—priced appropriately for buying the case, if only to stock up for those long summer vacations, or a few weekends. Get it on Drizly here.
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