Cruase – Italian sparkling rose, yes, I said rose, wine
It’s Italian week here on the Winesleuth. Yes, more stories and wine finds from my recent trip through Lombardy in Northern Italy. I like rosés and like sparkling rosés even more. Italy’s not really known for their rosés, let alone sparkling rosés but that’s all about to change thanks to the Oltrepò Pavese consortium.
Oltrepò Pavese is located in the region of Pavia, Lombardy on the 45th parallel, the same as the region of Burgundy and like Burgundy, the region has historically grown pinot noir or pinot nero, as they call it in Italy. The Consortio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese has taken as it’s mission to produce naturally sparkling rosé wines from the region and launch them onto the world. Cruasé is their sparkling rose, the name being a hybrid of the words cru and rosé. In an interesting twist, while researching the history of the region, it was discovered that in the 17th century, cruà was the name given to vines and the wines that were produced in the region.
Cruasé is made in the traditional method and have a minimum of 85% pinot nero with the remainder being made up of the local varieties. It’s a DOCG wine which means that there is are strict rules and regulations regarding the production of the wine before it can be labeled and sold as Cruasé.
I was quite delighted to be offered a glass of sparkling rosé as soon as I arrived at the restaurant, straight off the plane. We tried Cruasés from various producers and I found most of them to be clean and fresh but not terribly exciting. The reservas, however, now there was something to get excited about. Aged 24 months on the lees, these were the ones that I liked best but you know, I always go for the oldies. The wine was showing very nicely, candied red fruits on the nose and palate with that familiar aroma of a bakery on a early Saturday morning hovering above the glass. The bubbles were fine and tiny, they tickled my nose!
Lunch was the local salami and risotto, made with the local rice, carnoroli, that you can only get within Pavia, full of loads and loads of mushrooms and truffles. I do love truffles. The Cruasé reservas seemed to go best with the entire meal. I couldn’t get enough of them but all too soon we were packing up and heading out to our next stop, a 17th century villa for the night.
Cruasé is currently only available in Italy but the Consortio has ambitions to launch it into other European markets and beyond in the very near future.