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26 Sep 2011

Everything’s rosé

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22-9-2011: In this week’s The Weekly Review Ben Thomas talks about “Everything’s rosé”

As the clocks go forward this weekend and we are reminded that it’s time to replace the batteries in the smoke detectors, it’s also the time to think about stocking up the fridge for the long, warm evenings ahead.

At our place, it’s rosé that starts to take over the fridge about now.

While it’s always pink in colour, rosé is a chameleon of a wine and has the ability to suit a variety of occasions.

Styles vary from vibrant pink, sweet and bursting with ripe berry flavours great for picnics and barbecues, to pale, subtle and savoury drops that are great at the dinner table.

In the past, I reckon that choosing a rosé was a bit like a game of Russian roulette, though less lethal. The quality of the wines could be a bit hit and miss – but quality has reflected demand as the style has become more popular over the past few years and rosé in Australia has never been better.

Last year there was a determined push by many wineries under the Rosé Revolution banner to produce and promote rosé that had the three qualities that are the hallmarks of the best European styles – dry, savoury and textural.

These are serious wines, with the grapes specifically selected to make rosé (as opposed to many rosés that are actually a byproduct of red winemaking).

Interestingly, rosé can be, and is, made using a wide range of grapes.

From pinot noir to sangiovese and shiraz to grenache, rosé can show off some of the more subtle notes of these grapes that aren’t always seen when they’re a red.

The wines display myriad aromas and flavours, from summer berries and watermelon to citrus and heady Turkish delight notes (yep, really), and the best examples have a combination that continually draws you in for another sniff and a sip. They are generally fermented in old oak barrels and then left in situ to mature for a few months to achieve texture, a hint of tannin and complexity.

You can usually tell if a rosé has been treated in such a way – the time in barrel also allows the wine to gently oxidise, stripping away the vibrant pink colours to reveal a pale colour with a hue of salmon, light pink or onion skin.

These wines will be made so there is no underlying sweetness (known as residual sugar) and the flavour will be at the savoury end of the spectrum, making it a perfect wine to match with the food we eat in the warmer months.

This year’s Rosé Revolution kicks off on November 10 with “rosé soirées” and tweet-ups planned in Melbourne and around Australia.

Last year’s main event was a free tasting at Madame Brussels on Bourke Street, and plans are being made to try to improve what was one of the top tastings of last year.

» Check out www.rosewinerevolution.com for details about the kick-off party and educational rosé events throughout the summer. This revolution will be tweeted.

Taste This

Foster e Rocco Rosé 2011
(Heathcote) $27; 12.8%

I opened up a few rosés with friends recently – the way rosé should be consumed – and this was the group’s unanimous favourite. Complex aromas of citrus blossom, cherry, strawberry and Turkish delight lead to a fine mix of concentrated savoury, spice and berry flavours. It’s textural, with grippy tannins and citrus-flavoured acidity that’s dry and refreshing. The wine has pretty decent length for a rosé, with strawberry, rose petal and cinnamon flavours to the fore.

Food match \ Charcuterie platter

Click here for review: HDV-20110928-011-100dpi

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