It’s nearly summer here in the States and with the hot weather comes lighter food fare and, yes, lighter wines. All over Europe the usual reds and whites are set aside for another time, and the pink wines from the previous year’s harvest are rolled out en masse. If you’re not already a regular summer European Pink Drinker, forget what you know about pink wines. We’re not talking about “White Zinfandel” and it’s sweet cousins, the rosato wines of Italy are mostly dry – and perfect fare for the lighter dishes of summer.
I can hear the men in the crowd now: “Pink wine is for chicks.” Well, there are tens of millions of European men who would beg to differ. Granted, many of the wines are full of fruit and so fresh that they should be slapped, but when it comes to hot summer days, a big oaky red wine is not welcome to the summer dinner table. It’s like wearing a wool coat to a pool party. Park your pink perceptions for a moment and try this wine.
Bubbly and fun: Riondo Pink Prosecco Raboso NV
My wife ran across this pink gem on one hot summer day at Pastaworks wine shop in Portland; Peter de Garmo, the proprietor and long-time lover of all things Italian, sold her on the pretty bottle, saying she and her girlfriends would adore it. I enjoy a good Prosecco, but I must admit that I had reservations when I saw this lightly pink and bubbly Prosecco with it’s shiny tassel closure and the pink box it came in. Let’s face it, this producer is targeting women, but I was secure in my manhood to give it a try. Wow. On the nose it’s full of strawberry and cherry, and the palate is loaded with tart red fruits and citrus like key lime, and even has a nice watermelon finish. Unlike many Prosecco wines, this one is frizzante (lightly sparkling) and thoroughly refreshing, and at 10.5% alcohol you can drink this baby all day long.
Serve this wine cool, but not cold – at 50-60 degrees, the fruit really shows well and will delight your senses.
Perfect pairings: Serve this sparkler with grilled shrimp or scallops marinated in lime & garlic, or a salad of greens, shaved fennel, orange and walnuts. Also great as an aperitif with marcona almonds and mild, nutty cheeses like aged pecorino or parmigiano.
The price: In a wine shop, you’ll pay $10-14/bottle. Order online and it runs about $8-10/bottle. Shipping will cost you another $2-4/bottle for a case of wine. In a restaurant, it’s about $28-32/bottle. Riondo Pink Prosecco also comes in handy 187ml quarter-bottles, perfect for a porta-party and cheap at only $4/bottle.
Where to buy: Finding this wine locally is hit-and-miss, as availability varies by region and season. Ask the wine steward at your favorite wine shop if he can get it for you. Be sure to say that you want the Pink Prosecco NV, as Riondo makes a classic Prosecco as well. It’s easier to buy this wine online or over the phone. Try Empire Wine in Albany or Garnet Wine in New York City (they both ship to wherever it’s legal). If you want to work with a human being, call Peter de Garmo or his son Kevin at Pastaworks in Portland at +1.503.232.1010. Looking for more options? Click here.