The Trasimeno Rosato Festival experienced a third edition in the summer of 2022, an event that brought together the local wineries, restaurants and bars in the picturesque and historic town of Castiglione del Lago. This village is located on the shore of Lake Trasimeno (Lago di Trasimeno in Italian), in the heart of the wine-producing denomination, Trasimeno DOC. The festival is an indicator of a trend that local producers are proud of: the increase in rosato wine from their region. Rosato, if the term is unfamiliar, is Italian rosé, a translation of a common word meaning pink wine to most people, made from a light amount of skin contact with red-skinned grapes.
Lake Trasimeno in Umbria is the fourth largest lake in the country. Although located in the bustling province of Perugia and near the border with Tuscany, this lake is less known to international tourists than superstars such as Lake Como or Lake Garda, two other areas that produce Italian rosato wine. Hills full of vineyards and olive trees surround the lake, which attracts cyclists, nature lovers and history buffs. There are even three islands encased in the lake – including Isola Maggiore, which is home to a small number of residents.
In the area around Lake Trasimeno, Sangiovese, Trasimeno Gamay, Merlot or Ciliegiolo are typical rosato varieties. A few native grapes from the region are also a possible element. Trasimeno Gamay, for reference, is a head scratcher. It is actually Grenache (Garnacha in Spain), a misnomer in the early days of this wine’s movement between the Italian and French markets.
In recent years we have brought a new interest in rosato along with an investment in modern techniques and an emphasis on quality. Sabina Cantarelli, owner of the second generation of Montemelino and president of the Colli del Trasimeno wine route, says that “rosé gets really interesting here” and notes that while it is not a traditional product, it does appeal to visitors and fans of other countries. parts of Europe.
Cantarelli says there are new investments and plantings, and that “more women and young people” are interested in growing and making wine in Trasimeno. For those interested in unique Italian wines on a budget, Trasimeno wines are an attractive option.
While Umbria shares a border with Tuscany, and in many ways corresponds to quality, it is less known, so to speak, and this element of discovery often protects the prices. “The same wine on the other side of the hill would cost three times as much,” Cantarelli says. This is a country of small producers, with only 15 members in the consortium representing the wine products of Lake Trasimeno.
There isn’t much of this wine on the US market yet, but it’s definitely something visitors will experience when traveling to the region. A plate of fish from the lake with a chilled Trasimeno rosato is the perfect lunch during a day of exploring around Castiglione del Lago. And meanwhile, it’s a category to keep an eye on as more are sure to enter the international landscape.