Most people think of rosé as the perfect warm weather sipper, but Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo has the heft to transcend seasons. If you’re looking for a rosé to take you through the cooler months, look no further than these Italian wines. Made exclusively from the Montepulciano grape, this iconic pink pour hails from the bucolic Abruzzo region of Italy, nestled between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea.
Their deep-cherry hue sets these wines apart from other rosés of the world, and often borders the light-red-wine spectrum. This richness of color is a result of the pigment-heavy skins of Montepulciano, which only need, at the most, a few hours of skin contact to release the desired color and tannin extraction. The resulting wines are rife with juicy flavors of cherry and cranberry which compliment herbal and earthy nuances, all framed by bright acidity and a gentle grip of tannins.
While many are fermented or aged in stainless steel to yield early-drinking results, some spend time in used oak, concrete or amphora to develop more texture, and—in some cases—aid in the longevity of the wines. To aid in your cool-weather rosé adventures, here are 10 recently reviewed Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo to explore.
Amorotti 2017 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo; $35, 93 points. This stand-out Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo starts off with an engaging nose of fresh-pressed cherry, lemon oil and crushed herbs on the nose. An earthy, brambly base note underpins it all. There’s weight, presence and grip to the palate, driven by pulsing flavors of Morello cherry and red currant. Gentle tones of rooibos and crushed stone add depth and lift to this textural beauty. Drink now–2022. Jan D’Amore Wines. Editors’ Choice. –Alexander Peartree
Francesco Cirelli 2017 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo; $20, 92 points. This textural pink wine was fermented with indigenous yeast in amphora, giving it a bit of a wild edge. Concentrated aromas of dark cherry and blackberry meld with accents of rooibos and crushed stone on the nose. The medium-bodied palate is rounded yet energized, with no harsh edges. Detailed tones of wild berries are lifted by persistent acidity and framed by crunchy tannins. It’s a delicious pink wine to enjoy in the cooler months of the year. Drink now–2022. Zev Rovine Selections. Editors’ Choice. –A.P.
Tiberio 2019 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo; $20, 92 points. This richly hued pink wine starts off with a nose of freshly pressed cherries and blackberries—stems and all. While the fruit is intense and concentrated, there are earthy base notes of herbs and bramble that tie it all together. It’s full, yet fresh on the palate, showing amazing purity to the berry-fruit flavors. Slicks of crushed stone and herbs keep this lifted and energized. It’s an excellent offering from an estate winery located in the Pescara province of Abruzzo. Drink now–2021. The Sorting Table. Editors’ Choice. –A.P.
Annona 2018 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo; $22, 90 points. A bit closed upon opening, after time this offers a pretty nose of juiced raspberry and cranberry, with orchard blossoms chiming in. A gentle, tannic grip on the palate comes off like red-apple peel and cranberry skins, while a fresh, lifted tone of river rocks gives this pink wine vitality. Enjoy with a bit of a decant alongside poultry and veggie roasts on a crisp autumn evening. Drink through 2021. Third Leaf Wines. –A.P.
Cantina Tollo 2019 Hedòs (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo); $25, 90 points. Perfumed aromas of apple blossom and cherry carry the delightfully floral nose. The palate is smooth and inviting, offering a tasty mix of apple peel and tangy raspberry flavors. A bit of cherry-cocktail bitters adds some grip, but integrates nicely into the fruit. Drink through 2021. Vino Veritas. –A.P.
Cataldi Madonna 2019 Malandrino (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo); $15, 90 points. Aromas of crushed limestone, red-cherry skin and blood-orange rind make an engaging, fresh start to this pink wine made from organically grown Montepulciano. The medium-bodied palate boasts tart red-berry, orange and herbal spice notes that are wrapped in a gentle tannic frame. Drink through 2021. Vias Imports. Best Buy. –A.P.
Masciarelli 2019 Villa Gemma Superiore (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo); $20, 90 points. This vibrantly hued cherry-red Cerasuolo kicks off with brisk aromas of red-apple peel and Morello cherry, underpinned by a soft washed cheese-rind note. The palate is rounded and well integrated, echoing the fruit tones of the nose and lifted by tangy crushed stone. A bit tightly coiled now, this will be an enjoyable pour in the winter and spring months of 2021. Vintus LLC. –A.P.
Illuminati 2019 Campirosa (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo); $14, 89 points. This entry-level Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is a very good example of the style at an attractive price. A rounded palate boasts flavors of balsamic-dipped cherries and crushed limestone, with a gentle, gripping mouthfeel akin to freshly pressed cranberry juice. It ends brisk and tangy. Montcalm Wine Importers. Best Buy. –A.P.
Tenuta I Fauri 2019 Baldovino (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo); $15, 89 points. Rich red-cherry in color, this Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is inviting in aromas of fresh-pressed Morello cherries, with flecks of warm spices and earthy rooibos. The medium-bodied palate is fleshy and rounded, driven by a tart cherry flavor and spritzy acidity. A persistent cocktail-bitters note arises on the midpalate and extends on the finish. Wineberry America LLC. –A.P.
Talamonti 2019 Rosé (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo); $13, 88 points. Brisk aromas of blood orange, red cherry and potpourri carry the nose. The medium-bodied palate follows suit, with a slightly tangy wet stone note chiming in. This is a tasty, straightforward pink wine that should be enjoyed in the near term. Panebianco. Best Buy. –A.P.