Spring has sprung! And as the temperature is climbing, I start to reach for the pinks. …..
Rosé wine in Australia comes in a myriad of shades from the pale and most delicate of pinks and salmon to bold and bright pinks reminiscent of ripe berries …
and is made from a wide variety of grape varieties – grenache, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, merlot and pinot noir to name some of the more common ones. However, this year I have noticed that there are more coming onto the market with a small addition of white wines too.
McLaren Vale’s Woodstock and Margaret River’s Sandalford are just two. Woodstock has thrown in a 5% blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon into the mix and Sandalford have added a dollop of verdelho. These additions add to the fruitiness of the wine and an extra hit of fresh acid.
There is still a misconception that rosé wines are sweet. It goes without saying really, this is completely untrue. More delicate than most red wines with more body and intensity than most whites – rosé fills the gap providing refreshment, texture and enjoyment at both ends of the sweetness spectrum. They are elegant enough not to overwhelm and as such rosés make good food wines. This year, why not reach for a glass of rosé to drink with your next antipasto, tuna steak or Pissaladières?
When choosing your rosé, colour is no indication of sweetness. A deeper pink rosé may have plenty of residual sugar. Conversely, it also may be an indication that this rosé may have had extra skin contact meaning that it has more tannins and deeper flavours but is bone dry. There has been a movement in the recent past on our shores to emulate the rosés of the South of France with delicate pale pinks and savoury personalities that are dry and textural. While choosing a wine you have not tasted before, it can be a lucky dip as to sweetness level however it pays to read the label while getting to know your producers.
Of course, there are plenty of sweet delights to be found in our fridges. The grapey Moscatos are still popular and are more versatile than you think. By themselves, they are crowd pleasers to be enjoyed relaxing with friends. However they can also be matched to dessert (no shocks there) and surprisingly for some, with light dishes aromatic Asian herbs and spices and other chilli dishes. A well made moscato can offer more than simple fruit. If you push the budget just a little, you will be rewarded with Spring in a glass with scents of floral bouquets, Turkish delight & musk.
Here are some to try this season:
Longview Boatshed 2012 Nebbiolo Rosé ($20) – From the cool Adelaide Hills, this is a riper style of pale rosé but is still dry (1.9 g/L). A pretty wine that is fragrant with sun warmed strawberry aromas offset with some herbs. The flavours fill the mouth with rich berries tailing off to a more savoury finish that keeps your interest. A versatile food wine.
Innocent Bystander 2012 Pinot Rosé ($20) – A pale dry rosé that is a strawberry and cream classic. Some lees stirring gives a silky polished texture along the fresh long length. With its medium body, this is a great rosé for sharing with friends either with or without food.
Rob Dolan True Colours 2012 Dry Rosé ($24) – Keeping with the true colour theme, this is a definite pink colour. Made from Yarra Valley cabernet sauvignon, Dolan has an eye on keeping the berry fruit pure with just a hint of spiciness. A wine that is all about texture and there is plenty of silk along the palate. One wine that evokes summer whatever the season.
Foster e Rocco Heathcote Sangiovese 2012 Rosé ($25+) – A pale dry rosé that is setting the benchmark high for Australian rosé. A fine rose petal pink. Fresh strawberry with lashings of cinnamon and cream that has a supple palate kept in check with a fine line of acid. A style that loves food.
Sandalford Margaret River 2012 Rosé ($20) – Interestingly the cabernet sauvignon 92% in this wine has a little verdelho (8%) added. A deeper colour pink with the fragrance of ripe plum and cherry fruit. The 7.1 g/L residual sugar has been left to add fullness to the body and balance to the fresh acid. This is a fresh and foodworthy pink with some extra fruit weight.
Scarborough Pinot Noir 2012 Rosé ($18 cellar door only) – The Scarborough team really know how to make wine that has plenty of appeal to their audience. This rosé is no different. Off dry (around 12 g/L sugar), made in an easy drinking style with firm acid and some tannin structure to pull it together. Drink this one with food.
Woodstock Grenache 2013 Rosé ($19) – A lush deep floral pink that is unashamedly sweeter. Made from an intriguing mix where the red grapes grenache & cabernet sauvignon is blended with a clever drop of sauvignon blanc (4.5%) and semillon (0.5%). The result is a ripe sweet cherry berry wine that has a core of lifted fruit purity. A wine that will work well at Summer bbq or at that BYO Thai place on the corner.
Pizzini 2012 Brachetto ($18) – The Brachetto grape is rather unique to find in Australia – the Pizzini family call it the red version of the muscat grape. There is plenty of Turkish delight, strawberry & floral musk to offer. It is sweet & well balanced with refreshing acid on the palate where it sits lightly & lasts longingly. A wine with a low enough alcohol that you do not have to stop at one. Enjoy alone, try it with chilli lime prawn canapés or dessert. You choose!