The word cerasuolo means “cherry” in Italian. You probably have never heard of it in relation to wine. In fact, the appelation of Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo is the newest DOC of the Central Italian wine region. It was only designated in 2010.
But don’t be misled into thinking this is a “new” wine. It’s not. It is a wine-making style that has been used for centuries in the vineyards around Abruzzo, about two hours east of Rome.
And over the decade that Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo has held a DOC-designation, it has grown an increasingly larger following among European oenophiles.
These wines are made in an old local tradition from dark red Montepulciano grapes in a method that leaves the skins fermenting only a brief period of time, thus creating a rosé rather than a deep red wine. The Central Italian wine region around Abruzzo has a long history of producing whites, reds, and rosés.
The unique Abruzzo quick-skin method creates a bright, fruity, medium-bodied rosé with lower tannins than a red wine. But it creates a rosé with considerably more tannins, nuance, and structure than Provencal-style rosés most Americans are used to. This has prompted some to call Cerasulolo D’Abruzzo a “serious rosé.”
This is a rosé substantial enough to pair not only with fish, but with lamb, pork, and pasta dishes. It is definitely not the sweetie-pie rosé many think of. Yet it is still refreshingly drinkable and particularly well-suited for hot summers outdoors.
By Italian law Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo must consist of at least 85% Montepulciano grapes. Only up to 15% of it can be other varieties.
The 2018 bottle we tried was from La Fiera, a small vineyard that strikes a moderate niche in the wine market. La Fiera is known for good-to-high quality, small production wines. But it has little distribution outside of Europe, or even outside of Italy.
The first nez of the 2018 La Fiera Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo was dried cherry quickly followed by wildflowers and sweetgrass. The bouche was a quick hit of orange peel and cinnamon with a warm cherry overlay, then a crisp finish of strawberry.
All-in-all we found it a quite delightful bottle of wine. It has lots of nuance. And despite the delicate coloration, it is very much a medium-bodied wine that can stand up to flavors you might not expect could be paired with a rosé.
We had it as an aperitif with goat cheese cheddar and warmed salted in-shell pistachios. And then for dinner we paired it with a semi-spicy Vegetarian Indian Curry.
An important note here.
This is one of the bottles we got for under $6 from our first Splash order.
You can read about what a great deal our first wine purchase from Splash was.
And you can see exactly what the shipment looked like when it arrived on our doorstep five days later. (To be posted tomorrow.)
So Frenchly is a Splash Affiliate because we were thrilled to find a “wine club” you don’t have to join and you can still get great bargains through. We not only are an affiliate (which means we may make a small commission if you buy something after branching there from our website), but we HEARTILY ENDORSE Splash. We are continuing to enjoy wine from our first purchase and have just placed a second order.