We’ve all heard of pink Champagne. Many consider the wine to be among the most romantic in the world, though that seems to be based around the colouring more so than anything else.
But have you head of pink Rosé?
That’s what we’re going to look at today. Or, more accurately, we’re going to take a look at the Chiaretto wine, which takes so much pride in its pinkness that the wine’s website even has the word “pink” in the URL.
With that in mind, this week’s article will trace the interesting history of this wine, as well as taking a closer look at what it has to offer people who haven’t had the chance to try it yet.
The story starts in 1896. By this point in time, the Italian wine industry had grown to be among the largest in the world and many of the varieties that we drink today had been invented. Of course, many of today’s producers weren’t around back then. But the backbone of the industry was in place and Italy was ready for the major expansion that the industry would enjoy during the 20thcentury.
It is against this backdrop that a lawyer and author named Pompeo Molmenti decided to try something a little different. Perhaps bored with the Rosé wines that already populated the market, he decided to try his hand at crafting a unique variety that would stand apart from the crowd.
He didn’t go into the venture with no knowledge at all. Though his main profession was as a lawyer, Molmenti had spent several years learning about the vinification process that French producers use to create Rosé. He also owned a vineyard near Lake Garda, which he singled out as his central area of production for his new wine. The end result was the Chiaretto wine, which is a dry Rosé that was quite different to the other Rosé wines of the time period.
The wine gained popularity fairly quickly, likely due to its unique nature. Of course, other producers jumped onto the bandwagon and started producing their own versions of the wine. Most of these were based in and around the same Lake Garda area in which Molmenti had invented the wine.
In fact, its reputation was such that it was also one of the first wines to receive the coveted DOC classification. In 1968, only a few years after the formation of the DOC organisation, the Bardolino Chiaretto wines that most closely mirrored the wines that Molmenti had created received the DOC classification.
In such a short period of time, the wine had gained a stellar reputation and had many fans. But it continued on in the same vein for over almost 50 years before the next revolution in the Chiaretto lineage.
It was in 2014 when everything changed again. Chiaretto’s winemakers decided that they needed to add a little something extra to their wine in order to reinforce its unique nature.
The “Rosé Revolution” was born. And with it came the distinctive pink colouring that you will see in most examples of the wine today. But this wasn’t just a cosmetic change. The pale pink colouring is accompanied by a change in the wine itself. Today, it exhibits a more floral and aromatic texture than the wine that Pompeo Molmenti created over 100 years ago. But it’s still a very special Rosé that everybody should try at some point.
So, now we have the obvious question.
How do the producers achieve the pale pink colouring of a Chiaretto?
Thankfully, it has nothing to do with any changes to the wine’s chemical composition. It’s as natural today as it always was. Instead, it comes down to specific techniques that the winemakers use during the growing and production periods. In particular, producers limit the exposure that the juices have to the skin of the grape. It is in the skin that the pigment that gives a grape its colouring is found. In limiting this exposure, the producers create a paler grape without affecting the wine’s quality.
This pinkness is even made apparent in the name. In fact, chiaro means “pale”, which tells you everything that you need to know about the thought process that went into the creation of the wine.
As for the grape used? It’s actually the Corvina grape that you’ll find in many famous Italian red wines, such as Valpolicella and Amarone. Of course, the way that the grape expresses itself is quite different in a Chiaretto than it is in those richer Italian red wines.
You’ll notice this difference as soon as you pour your first glass. The pale pink colouring is immediately apparent, but what may surprise you is that you’ll recognise similar primary aromas to those you’d find in red wines made using the Corvina grape. Generally speaking, a Chiaretto has a floral tone, with citrus and wild berries often making an appearance. Depending on the producer, you may also notices tones of vanilla, spice, and cinnamon.
When introduced to the palate, the wine has a refreshing and light taste. Its youthfulness abounds and it’s simply a joy to drink. As a result, many people use Chiaretto as an aperitif in the same way that they use Prosecco and similarly light wines.
It’s also an excellent wine to pair with light appetizers and other finger foods. Generally speaking, you’ll find that it goes really well with a light lunch, especially one that involves rice or pasta. However, it’s also a good accompaniment to pizza, as long as the pizza doesn’t have a lot of meat or particularly rich cheeses.
It’s unique and fresh texture also makes it a great accompaniment to seafood dishes. However, a variety with spicier undertones can also work well with spicy Asian food.
Simply put, it’s a versatile wine that works well for practically any occasion. We recommend that you give it a try, especially if you’re looking for a dry wine that can serve as an aperitif. We promise that you won’t be disappointed.