I can’t say “no” to a glass of pink. Lightly aromatic. Great on its own, or with food. Refreshing.
It’s a rosé state of mind, especially when it comes to brunch.
As Americans, we’ve finally taken on to this dry and beautiful expression of wine that’s been around for centuries in other parts of the world. Rosé is no longer confined to the warmer months, and continues to be one of the highest wine categories sold in the US. In the simplest terms, rosé is typically made via the maceration method, when red grapes are let to rest in the juice for a short period of time, imparting only a small amount of color in the skins to the wine, as opposed to a longer period of contact which will “stain” the wine a deep red or purple. Where some red wines ferment for weeks at a time on red grape skins, rosé wines are stained for just a few hours, or days.
I built this brunch around the wines of Italy, specifically rosé (known as rosato in their country). The wealth of diversity among rosé wines makes them interesting, versatile, and perpetually delicious.
Having themed meals can be a lot of fun, and also easier to plan in my opinion. For this summery brunch, I first picked three different styles of Italian rosé (ranging in price from $20-$30), and decided on the food from there. Although I was familiar with what Italians eat for dinner and dessert, I had some research to do about breakfast/brunch time.
What I found was that breakfast is typically very light, featuring cappuccinos and pastries. Lunch is focused more around seasonal vegetables, fresh fruits, and maybe one heartier dish.
Here are the dishes I made, and the beauty of putting this together was that I made the frittata and baked eggs, but things like the fruit, salumi plate, and pastries could be bought from my favorite local shops and served.
There is such a range of beautiful wines made in Italy, where heritage and timeless techniques for artisanal wine making and farming guide their production. My suggestion is to go to more of a boutique wine shop and have them help you find a few good selections. Chances are they will have a larger selection to choose from as well. The following are the wines that I poured.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo: There’s a beautiful harmonious complexity with ripe berries, fresh-cut herbs, and citrus in this wine. It paired beautifully with the frittata, complimenting the earthy broccoli and mitigating the salty prosciutto. Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, formerly Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo, is a young Italian appellation created in 2010 that covers Abruzzo’s bright pink wines. As with sibling wines Montepulciano/Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, the permitted area is restricted to land below 600m, meaning the vineyards are located on the rolling foothills of the region.
Vino Spumante Brut Rosé: Bubbles. It’s not brunch without them. Am I right? Dark pink in color, almost red, this brut rosé is lively and structured, yet fresh and floral. Good acidity too. Sips of it with the salami, prosciutto, and cheese plate was perfection!
Chiaretto Classico: Chiaretto is one of the most famous name for rosé wines in Italy. The ‘lake effect’ makes these grapes more fruity, and perfect for the production of rosé. On the east side of the lake, the blend typically contains Corvina with local grapes, such as Rondinella and Molinara. It is light and bright (in color too!), with notes of fresh-bloomed roses, peach and strawberries. Because of its dryness, I felt it went really well with the buttery pastries. Equally great Chiaretto comes from the west side of the lake, but they are made with the esoteric Groppello grape.
And if you need a non-alcoholic option, I suggest adding this Mimosa Mocktail to your brunch!