Vinitaly, held in Verona from April 15–18, confirmed what’s trending in Italian wines, with rosato, organic wines and sparkling wines leading the pack.
Savory rosés from around Italy have long captivated wine drinkers traveling in the country, and the increased exports of rosato to the U.S. market means consumers will soon have a wider selection.
“Three or four years ago, only five wineries exported their Chiaretto from Bardolino to the U.S. Now, there are 25,” says Angelo Peretti, director of the recently renamed Chiaretto di Bardolino consortium.
Once called Bardolino Chiaretto, Italy’s most famous rosé from the shores of Lake Garda is awaiting authorization from Italy’s Minister of Agriculture to begin labeling under its new denomination. Made predominantly with the local grape Corvina Veronese, most producers make Chiaretto di Bardolino from grapes harvested with the intention of making a rosato, as opposed to the saignée method of bleeding the must of red wines during vinification.
“In past editions of Vinitaly, I never had interest from the U.S. trade, while this year I had visits from 20 buyers and journalists,” Peretti. Other rosatos from across Italy to look for include Valtènesi Chiaretto, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Salice Salentino Rosato and Castel del Monte Rosato, all made with native grapes.
Organic and Sustainable
The hall hosting Vinitalybio and Vigne Vignaioli Terroir (ViViT) an association of producers whose motto is “keep a close eye on vineyards and safeguard wines,” was packed. Some 15% of Italy’s vineyards are now organically cultivated, making Italy the country “with the highest incidence of organic” [viticulture], according to the Consorzio il Biologico Soc. Coop.
A Vinitaly and Nomisma survey predicts, “sales success for wine over the next five years will be determined to a large extent by products with an ‘ecological’ brand.” Italy’s Green Wine Revolution was further proven when on Monday, nine Italian producers received the first certification for sustainability. Called Equalitas, the certification has been years in the making.
“With this new certification, we now have set guidelines to govern sustainability in regards to the environment and our commitment to the well-being of our workers and to the community,” explains Michele Minelli, owner and winemaker of the Salcheto winery in Montepulciano in Tuscany. Other producers who have just received the new certification during Vinitaly include Castello di Abola, Rocca di Montemassi and Torrevento.
Attendees also flocked to the pavilions of Italy’s sparkling wine producers, including Franciacorta, Trentodoc, Alta Langa, and, of course, Prosecco, which is leading the sparkling boom at home and abroad. One of the most dynamic denominations is the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. These bottlings hail from hillside vineyards in a much smaller area than the Prosecco DOC and have more flavor and finesse.
The denomination has also recently set specific vineyard areas, known as Rive, to highlight the many terroirs in the DOCG growing area. The upward trajectory of Italian sparkling wine exports across the board shows no sign of slowing. Case in point: according to the latest statistics processed by the Consorzio Tutela del Vino Conegliano Valdobbiadene, between 2003–2016, exports of Prosecco DOCG to the U.S. have risen by 283%.