Pink is Back
Dorothy Parker said: “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Rosé wine, all pinky and perksome, with its spring/summer lovin’ colour as if frivolity was written into the very DNA of the wine, has become synonymous with the cheerful side of cheap, the kind of wine you drink quickly - and very uncritically - on holidays and forget about, equally quickly. But brand rosé doesn’t do justice to the more adventurous and serious wines being made à la pink...
Autres temps, autres moeurs...In parts of the New World pink wines have developed a stronger reputation and there is less and less of a colour barrier as many leading growers are enjoying the freedom to play around with colours and expectations. Our own Patrick Sullivan in Australia, for example makes various (not quite 50) shades of vin gris. Pink Pound anyone? (yes, that is the name of one of his rosés!). Often these wines are co-fermentations of red and white grapes. Others still are making rosé wine in the style of lighter reds, with a touch of tannic bite to fill out the palate and to make it more food-friendly.
2016 Express Winemakers Rosé
This orangey-pink comes from the organically farmed Churchview Vineyard in the Margaret River, Western Australia and is a potentially beefy blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre. It’s a pretty natural wine by rosé standards, treated with the respect of a red wine, being manually harvested, whole-bunch pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts partly in stainless vat and partly in mature oak barriques. It remains on the lees for several months to acquire further substance and undergoes a partial malolactic fermentation which helps to broaden the flavours in the mouth. Those flavours include redcurrant and candied orange peel with an almost creamy texture leavened by gentle natural acidity and a properly salty finish.
We would match it with barbecued fish and spicy food – sea bass, salmon or big prawns.
2016 Gallardia del Itata Rosé, De Martino, Chile
To Chile and a rediscovered beautiful region called Itata, where the landscape is composed of rolling hills and granite deposits from the Coastal Mountain Range that dates back to the Jurassic period. Thanks to the influence of the Pacific Ocean, this is a cool climate and the wines tend to be fresh, bright and light on their feet. The peasant-farmers of this region have preserved traditional viticulture techniques such as sustainable soil management and using horses to work the soil. The grape variety here is Cinsault which makes those distinctively pale, almost translucent wines in Provence. The colour is deceptive though with the skin contact and native yeast ferment giving the wine a structural core. There are abundant garrigue aromas and flavours of wild herbs with jasmine flower and dried fruit leading to a mouth-filling conclusion. The finish is dry with a lingering touch of cherrystone fruit. A versatile food wine - one might pair this happily with seafood stews and soups, roasted Mediterranean veg served with garlicky pesto, salt cod brandade and even slivers of salami. And if the sun is shining, take it outdoors and drink all day long!
2015 Fuchs und Hase Pet Nat Rosé, Kamptal, Austria
Martin & Anna Arndorfer and Alwin & Stefanie Jurtschitsch are great friends from the neighbouring villages of Strass and Langenlois. They spend lots of time together tasting in their cellars and philosophising about wine with beer in their hands. One day they decided to do a project together and so Fuchs und Hase was born. Fuchs und Hase means “fox and hare” There is an Austrian saying: “Where fox and hare say good night” denoting a very remote place mainly surrounded by forest. For making really high end cool climate with beautiful acidity and low-alcohol Pet Nat, Arndorfer & Jurtschitsch needed to find the coolest vineyards and it transpired that these vineyards were in remote clearings surrounded by forests.
Pet Nat is also called “méthode ancestrale” and comprises a single fermentation (unlike the champagne method). Grapes begin fermentation on the skins together and the juice is bottled whilst still fermenting. The natural bubbles remain captured in the bottle. Fermented with native yeast with no additions, no sugar, no filtration and no sulphur, this is a pure and handcrafted expression of Austrian pétillant naturel. The rosé pet nat is a co-ferment of Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s frankly delicious, the bubbles are soft and pleasant, there is blackcurrant sherbet aspect to the fruit. A great picnic wine, the perfect apéritif, it would be good with deep fried tapas dishes.
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