CHAPTER 2: CHERRY PIE, SUMMER PICNIC, USA

In our next chapter, Italian Wine Ambassador Rose Johnson explores an American classic dessert: cherry pie. During fresh cherry season especially -- which runs roughly from late spring through the summer months -- this pie is a popular choice at barbecues, picnics and diners all across the country. To pair, Rose suggests Freisa, a close relative of Nebbiolo from Piedmont, in either the sweet or frizzante (slightly sparkling) style. The wine features prominent notes of strawberry -- it's name, after all, comes from the fruit's Latin name -- as well as sweet-yet-bitter cherry, both of which match beautifully to the pie's mix of tart and sweet fruit. Look for wines from Freisa di Chieri and Freisa d’Asti. the two most well-known DOCs for this underappreciated but delicious grape.

I have worked in the service industry since I was 17, and in my early 20s began serving in a fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas. But it wasn’t until after graduating from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, that I realized I wanted to pursue a career in wine. I passed the certified sommelier exam in 2014 and was hired as a sommelier at Caesars Palace Las Vegas soon after. After a year and a half at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, I transferred to a Caesar's Italian restaurant called Rao’s, where I have been for almost three years. My love for Italian wine started at Rao’s and I began to study everything I could about Italian wine and Italy. I am now an Italian Wine Professional and Italian Wine Ambassador. I love wine from all around the world but Italian wine is my favorite.