Rosé knows no season — finally! We can find, drink, and enjoy rosés of many colors year ’round. No one is more aware of this mood than winemakers quick to make us long for the new, “new”. And, in 2021, the “it” rosé is Prosecco Rosé. Instagram is frothing over with gorgeous glasses and bottles. It’s what you get when you blend two different wine favorites: sparkle and pink — which prior to new rules were never allowed to mingle together. The creation of a pink version of the signature sparkling wine of the region was absolutely forbidden. Oh, they could make a pink “sparkling” wine, however, not “Prosecco” pink.
Prosecco Rosé, which was just approved by the governing Prosecco Consortium, as an official wine category last year, has arrived in the US. According to the Prosecco DOC Consortium, the trade association that championed this new designated wine, there are less than 30 Italian Prosecco Rosé producers shipping. However by the end of this year another 20 or so producers/brands are expected to line our shelves. Pricewise the range is between $12-$25 and the choices, running very dry to sweet, are as varied as the still versions of rosé.
What Grape is Prosecco Rosé Made With?
This may not excite every segment of wine lovers, but Prosecco Rosé is not just another pretty novelty on the shelf. In order to become a category in Italy, there are standards and rules. Glera, which is the grape that makes Prosecco, must make up at least 85% of the grape varieties in the bottle. If it’s a blend of grapes, then the winemaker may add up to 15% of Pinot Nero (the Pinot Noir of Italy) to give the gorgeous colors in the same way winemakers in Champagne use Pinot Noir to give their rosé Champagne a coloration (note: in Champagne, Pinot Meunier can also be added (we will have a post on that unsung grape soon!) All bottles of Prosecco Rosé must state the word, “Millesimato” which essentially means “vintage”. You will see the vintage year on each bottle.
How is it Fermented?
While still rosé wines are actually created from red grapes based on the amount of time the wine sits on the red skins to determine the colors of rosé. Sparkling rosé wines, including Champagne, will often achieve their color by blending in some red wine and that’s the manner in which Prosecco Rosé is made.
The sparkle in Prosecco is achieved by using the Charmat method, rather than the Methodé Champenoise or Méthode Traditionnelle. The principal difference is in the second fermentation, where the magical bubbles happen. For Prosecco’s Charmat method, it happens inside the tank, rather than in the bottles. This is how Prosecco’s fizz can be much less expensive than the method of making Champagne.
This Prosecco second fermentation for its rosé takes 60 days. Regular Prosecco is only 30 days. Another interesting law is that the label must show a vintage, with 85% of the Glera grape in the bottle coming from that vintage year. On the shelves today you’ll find vintages 2019 and 2020. Choose either with confidence. Besides the attractive price, color and bubbles, the alcohol is a tame 11%.
Must-Taste Prosecco Rosés
Scan the shelves in your local Aldi, supermarket, or better yet wine shop — where they will have an expert opinion — for one of these pleasures:
2019 Mionetto Extra Dry ($14), a fresh and slightly minerally version with aggressive bubbles. Perfect aperitif.
2020 Villa Sandi Il Fresco Brut ($15), BAM! drier in taste, pink-salmon hue, flowery, cherries, both fruity and savory.
These are just two of many luscious choices. Better pick up 2 bottles, as one won’t suffice!
What Food Goes with Rosé Wine?
Rosé is famous for being poolside and food-friendly. The fruity aromas and flavors of the wine create pairings of great pleasure or can be enjoyed on their own. The fruitier versions of rosé are especially good with spicy or BBQ foods. The dryer ones can go with everything from sushi to grills. The sparkling Prosecco Rosé will amp up any of your food desires.
- BBQ or grilled meats and vegetables
- Rich, slightly sweet sauces
- Roasted or grilled fish or chicken
- Shrimp and other shellfish
- Sushi and Sashimi
- Spicy Hunan Food
- Thai Food
- Southern Indian Dishes
- Fruit Salads
- Creamy cheeses
- Nutty cheeses
- Deviled Eggs
- Jamon Crudo or Prosciutto
- Stone fruits
Sparkle and Mix
We adore a glass of Prosecco Rosé on its own, but it also lends itself so well to making incredibly refreshing sparkling cocktails. As a general rule, the Prosecco should still be the star of the drink, but given how well it pairs with so many other ingredients, a few additions can dress a glass of rosé up for a special occasion or a little variety.
Basil Berry Sparkler
Mix this refreshing herbal and berry-infused sparkling drink together by the pitcher, so you can enjoy it with a crowd, or without having to run back to the refrigerator for a refill. A quick basil syrup comes together by combining 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of fresh basil leaves in a pot. Bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then let the mix infuse off-heat for 30 minutes before straining out the basil leaves. For the final drink, combine the following ingredients in a pitcher:
- 750ml bottle of Prosecco Rosé
- ¼ cup of Basil Syrup
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- Sliced strawberries or halved raspberries
Stir everything together, add ice and serve. Enjoy in rocks, collins, large wine glasses, or anything you’ve got on hand. Garnish with a sprig of basil.
Amanda McGrory-Dixon of Burrata and Bubbles has created an entertaining twist on the classic French 75 cocktail by substituting a sparkling rosé for Champagne. Grab your Champagne flutes for an extra special blushing toast.
In a cocktail shaker, mix together:
- 1.5 oz Dry Gin
- .75 oz Simple Syrup (store-bought or homemade)
- The juice of half a lemon
Strain into a flute, and top off with Prosecco Rosé. Garnish with a lemon twist.
This sparkling cocktail will beautifully complement a wide range of foods, from seafood to spicy Thai food, to a luscious cheese and charcuterie spread. Use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for the best results. Directly into a champagne flute, pour:
- 1.5 oz pink grapefruit juice
- ½ teaspoon rose water
- Prosecco Rosé to fill
- 1 sugar cube
Garnish with fresh rose petals or dried rosebuds.
No matter what time of year it is, it’s the right time to pop a bottle of Prosecco Rosé. Raising a glass to your health and happiness this season!
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Contributor: Stacie Hunt, Certified Silver Pin Sommelier/AIS, Vice President National Association of Wine Retailers, International Wine Judge, Author, Spokesperson, and Educator.