Malcolm Jolley recommends a Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo…
There are many things I like about the Fantini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2018 (LCBO# 655342 – $10.95), aside from the price. Not least is that it bucks the overwhelming trend these days of very pale ‘onion skin’ rosé wines that have had so little skin contact that they taste, to me, more like white wines than light reds. That’s fine, I like white wine, but I like a little more concentration in my rosé than what’s fashionable now. What I really like are the orginal rosés, Tavel. Tavel is literally across the Rhône River from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is made the same way with Grenache-driven blends. Tavel was the lighter, summer wine for the Popes at Avignon, who saved the Châteauneuf for the heartier meals that cooler weather brings. The only trouble with Tavel is that a good bottle now starts at around $25, so it’s becoming a bit of a luxury. So, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, made with the region signature red grape, Montepulciano, is a great way to experience a darker style rosé at a fraction of the cost.
As far as I know, until the 21st century craze for pink wine, there was no such thing as Italian rosé, or as they now call it, rosato. But there were light and fruity red wines for summer drinking that did well to be chilled. Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo* has always fit the bill, and this easy drinking, not too complicated quaffer from the big producer Fantini delivers a big hit of bright red strawberry rhubarb fruit, with a sightly sweet edge that’s balanced by its firm acidity. I served it recently with barbecue chicken and it worked perfectly. For $11, it’s certainly worth a try.
*Cerasuolo means cherry soil and is also part of the name of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a red wine from Sicily that is a blend of Nero d’Avolo and Frappato, is the island’s only DOCG appellation, and something else altogether.