Italian Red Wines for Fall? Go Pink and Pair with Pasta! #ItalianFWT

In Ventura along the coast of California where we live, summer days and nights tend to be foggy.

That’s why we call the months May Gray, June Gloom, No Sky July, and Foghust…

While it’s not exactly cold during the day or night unless the fog is blowing in, it’s not sunny and hot either. But come September, the sun comes out! And the Santa Ana or East Winds begin to blow and it can get really really warm during the day until the ocean breeze and the cool fall evenings bring the temperature down!

So that’s why along the central coast of California, our best beach weather is in the fall!

And that’s why, when Jill Barth prompted us to write about “Favorite Italian Red Wines for Fall,” Sue and I agreed we were going to write about our favorite fall reds — red grapes that are made into ROSE or, in Italian, Rosato! (We did write about Italian red wines and fall foods here).

Since zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant are in season, we chose to feature these late summer early fall foods in a pasta dish with shrimp along with one of my favorite fall foods, fresh tomato bruschetta on grilled eggplant “toast.”  It may not be pretty and it’s messy to eat but wow is it tasty!


  • Cheese plate: St. Nuage triple creme soft ripened cheese, Sini Fulvi Fontina D’Rosta, Gorgonzola Picante Mitica Igor, Organic Oregon Blue Rogue Creamery, Bio Foies de Polet, Chèvre
  • Fresh Berry Salad
  • Bruscetta on Grilled Eggplant “Toast”
  • Farfalle pasta with shrimp and fresh picked garden vegetables

Before we get into the wines, a quick review of how rose or rosato is made which I discuss in more detail here: 

  • By intention: where the grapes are grown to be made into a rose wine where there is only a brief amount of skin contact from the dark colored skins with the juice
  • Saignee: where some of the juice from red grapes is bled off to concentrate the flavors of a red wine
  • Blending: a rosato can be made by blending red grapes OR by blending white wine grapes with red wine grapes

The grapes in the wines we tasted came from all over Italy: Piemonte and the Dolomites in the north, Venezia to the east, Toscana to the west, and Salento to the south (the heel of the boot), and included sangiovese, syrah, negroamaro, pinot noir, nebbiolo, and pinot grigio.

WAIT — isn’t pinot grigio a white wine? How can a pinot grigio be a rosato?

pinot grigio grapes can have a dark skin

Because I was basically looking for geographical range and color, it wasn’t until the wines were chilled and we were about to open them and taste that I realized that two of the five wines were pinot grigio — a well known grape that is made into a very popular WHITE wine.

But because pinot grigio grape skins range from very dark to “grey,” if the juice has enough skin contact, the resulting wine will indeed be pink — or more accurately, a coppery color or “ramato.” In fact, this is the traditional way to make wine from pinot grigio — it’s only in the past 30 years or so that it has been fined to make it white.

So we decided to keep them in the mix!

samples sent to me for my review consideration; SRP $15-30 

2017 – Rocca Di Monetassi – Renaissance – Rosato – Toscana IGT – 13% alcohol
2017 -Casata Monfort –  Pinot Grigio – Vigneti Delle Dolomiti IGT – 13% alcohol
2016 – Attems – Ramato – Pinot Grigio – Venezia Giulia – 13% alcohol
11 – Via Guelpa – Longitude 8 E – alcohol 13%
2016 – Girofle – Salento IGP – Negroamaro 13% alcohol

2017 – Rocca Di Monetassi – Renaissance – Rosato – Toscana IGT – 13% alcohol
rose of 60% Sangiovese, 40% Syrah

Color: Palest of the tasting, more coral than pink, rose gold. The label also has beautiful rose gold elements.

Nose: Florals, citrus blossoms, sage, bubble gum, minerals; this wine has a very expressive nose.

Palate: The mineral characteristics of stone or river rock, some salinity. Stone fruit with the pit left over in your mouth. The flavor is more intense at the front of the palate with a lovely lingering finish.

Pairing:  This wine goes well with clean fresh foods. Think Mediteranian. It went well with harder funkier rind cheeses, smoked cheeses. Great with salami and we imagined it would go with other smoked meats such as prosciutto. It was lovely with our fresh berry salad. It was also great with the pasta and loved the eggplant bruschetta.

This wine is a hit with this type of food!

2017 Casata Monfort –  Pinot Grigio – Vigneti Delle Dolomiti IGT

2017 -Casata Monfort –  Pinot Grigio – Vigneti Delle Dolomiti IGT – 13% alcohol

Color: Light peachy pink, an apricot that has been kissed by the sun.

Nose: Super expressive with lots of fruit and florals, Sue got damp Earth underlying the fruit and florals, but for me it was fresh stone fruit. This wine continued to shine several days later and the nose was still super vibrant!

Palate: This wine works the entire palate, fresh nice fruit up front, citrus mid palate, nice round finish that combines the front and mid palate together.

Pairing: I’d love this with fresh fish tacos. We then kept thinking about cured meats and it was great with the salami. This is a perfect wine for a cheese and salami picnic. Sue was surprised at how well it went with our Gorgonzola picante. This wine was quite complimentary with our dinner this evening.

2016 – Attems – Ramato – Pinot Grigio – Venezia Giulia

2016 – Attems – Ramato – Pinot Grigio – Venezia Giulia – 13% alcohol

According to my research, the vineyards were planted in 2002 among the plains and hills of the province of Gorizia at 60 meters on a soil type of eocene marls and sandstones created by seabed uplifting 50 million years ago and partly well-drained alluvial soils rich in stones and sand. The grapes were picked manually from late August into September. Following de-stemming, peels and must were left in contact for about 10 hours at 8°C and after soft pressing,  left to rest for 24-48 hours. Following fermentation, the wine rested for four months on noble lees often kept in suspension.

Color: Coral orange, copper, which is accented in the label.

Nose: Sweet and tart, like a fresh package of sweet tart candies, fresh fennel bulb.

Palate: This wine is very pleasant, not overly fruity. Ripe bartlett pear on the front of the palate, not overly dry like the skin of the pear as it recedes. There is a nice steely, maybe more on the iron side, metallic finish.

Pairing: Stellar with the St. Nudge cheese leading us to believe a rich creamy sauce over fish would be really nice with this wine. This wine definitely shows off more when it is paired with food. It did not like the aged or smoked cheeses as well as the last two wines. This wine wants rich creamy foods.  While this wine did not love our berry salad, it was alright, the eggplant bruschetta was good. Gwen found it quite nice, while Sue felt the garlic overpowered it.

11 – Via Guelpa – Longitude 8 E – alcohol 13%

In my research into this wine, I learned that the vineyards were planted fifteen years ago on moraine deposits and have a southwest exposure at an altitude of 250 meters. Grapes were harvested by hand into small lugs in the second half of September, destemmed, gently cold pressed, with spontaneous fermentation. The color comes from four hours of skin contact. The wine had four months sur lie and further aging in bottles.

Color: Salmon, like sockeye salmon in the bottle, in the glass there is a bit more orange to it. This is a very pretty wine, there is more pink than coral.

Nose: Herbs, citrus and earth, White peach and lemon grass, Ranier cherries, schewan peppercorn, pink peppercorns. it is more obscure. coming back to the wine with dinner, both Sue and I agreed that we really liked this wine. The nose was so pleasant and inviting when revisiting it.

Palate:  I thought it has a nice tang. This wine bursts of tart fruit on the front of the palate, moving to a lovely citrus as it rolls through the mid palate, finishing with nice clean minerals that leave you wanting for more.

Pairing: Fantastic with the Gorgonzola Picante, it makes Sue think of Gnocchi with a gorgonzola cream sauce.

This wine with our pasta tonight was a very lovely pairing. It is very satisfying like a comforting pairing. Each of the different bites in the pasta, bites of shrimp, and bites of olives, and bites of tomato, all played differently with the wine, and each bite was a new pleasurable experience.

2016 – Girofle – Salento IGP – Negroamaro

2016 – Girofle – Salento IGP – Negroamaro 13% alcohol

From Puglia– the heel of the boot!

Garofano winery “is a family business founded in 1995 by Severino Garofano, key personality in Southern Italy, along with his daughter Renata and his son Stefano,” according to Chiara Giorleo who also states that it “is located in Copertino (province of Lecce), in the heart of Salento area and, more precisely, within the old farm Masseria Li Monaci, named after the monks who came from the East and had launched an agricultural activity right here. They own 16 hectares (abt 40 acres) and produce about 150.000 bottles per year (50.000 bottles of rose).”

Color: Bold rich color for a Rose

Nose: This lacks the florals that the others had, more baking spiced, and baked fruit, strawberry rhubarb, not stewed fruit, but fresh ripe fruit that has been baked. red current and rhubarb. this has a bit of a reticent nose,

Palate: The first thing we noticed was a different mouth feel. There is a viscous quality to this wine. In the way that it coats Sue go asian pear, and Gwen got and Earthy smokiness.

Pairing: This wine loved the rich creamy cheeses. Good with the berry salad, great with the eggplant bruschetta, Great with the pasta as well

All in all Italian rose wine is a great choice for this cuisine. It plays well with fresh garden vegetables, pasta, seafood. This was a great warm weather meal,.The wines were light and refreshing. The food had great umumai. Whether fall or summer, if it’s a warm day, this is the perfect choice. Each of our wines were enjoyable and easy to drink, even more so with our harvest fair.


  • Slice eggplant in 1/4″ steaks.
  • Salt both sides — or not.
  • In a bowl, combine olive oil and herbs; cover each slice with the mixture.
  • Grill for 10-12 minutes.While it grills:
  • Chop 1-2 cloves of garlic and combine with 1/4 cup best olive oil you have.
  • Add 1-2 T chopped basil.
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • You can also add a tsp of balsamic vinegar.
  • Ladle bruschetta on eggplant.We pick them up with our hands and eat them like tacos!
    You can also add parmesan cheese into the bruschetta or on top.

What did the others discover this month? Check out the hashtag #ItalinFWT from our Saturday morning twitter chat.  Links to our posts below! 


11 thoughts on “Italian Red Wines for Fall? Go Pink and Pair with Pasta! #ItalianFWT

  1. Pingback: Finish Up the Rosato, It’s Barolo Time! #ItalianFWT | foodwineclick

  2. So the Negroamaro from Puglia liked the berries and the Nebbiolo / Pinot Noir from Alto Piemonte liked the pasta. I can see why the later and pasta work but less so about the former. As I learn more about Italian wines and native grapes these differences intrigue me. I’ll have to bump this to someone knowledgeable about Italian wine like Maurizio Broggi!

    Liked by 1 person

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