May 13, 2011

The Next Pink Thing: The Rise and Rise of Rosé

13 May 2011 | by Andrea Frost

In 2003, Europe suffered a devastating heatwave. For weeks, temperatures hung at a gritty 40 degrees Celsius. People died, livestock perished, crops failed, glaciers melted, forests burned … and rosé reached its tipping point.

Before that fateful summer, rosé was most famously made and consumed in the south of France and, less so, in parts of Spain. With the freshness and acidity of a white and the weight and mouthful of a red, it was made as a substitute wine for those who prefer red over the more weather-appropriate white.

Despite the enthusiasm with which it was consumed along balmy French coastlines, outside its spiritual home of Provence it was lauded for being too simple, a French quirk, an in-between wine with no pedigree. If you wanted to impress dinner guests, you didn’t bring rosé. Pfff, as if.

But then, during that searing summer of 2003 when the south of France conditions moved beyond the south of France, so too did people’s appreciation for a glass of ice-cold, thirst crushing rosé. In the searing heat of a summer that wouldn’t end, people finally got rosé.

And what’s not to get? A style, not a variety, rosé is made to be simple and guzzled soon after release with scant attention for little else than pleasure. A pink wine made of red grapes, it’s a style as lovely to look at as it is to drink. Served chilled and with a medium body, it also makes an excellent food match. A wine to enjoy while you’re enjoying yourself.

Little wonder it is being heralded as the Next Pink Thing. With so many appealing factors, it might very well be the most congenial wine style available. Its simplicity is its beauty, and you don’t need espadrilles and loose-fitting linen to enjoy a glass. Simple, non?

2009 West Cape Howe Rosé – A mixed bag of cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and shiraz from the Great Southern region of WA, this wine is clear, light pink and offers wafts of rose, musk and violet. A generous palate of ripe strawberries with a gentle lick of acid. I love this wine. RRP $19

2010 Pizzini Rosetta Sangiovese Rosé – The Pizzini’s make their rose from sangiovese, the Italian variety for which they have set the Aussie benchmark. A lighter style rosé, its nose offers a bunch of berry aromas and the palate a fresh, racy mouthful. Lovely acidity. Lovely wine. RRP $19

2009 Chateau Tanunda Barossa Tower Rosé – How could you ever think lacking a wine that offers wafts of strawberries and raspberries with a full and zippy palate of more berries, stitched together with a lick acid? Exactly, you couldn’t. RRP $16

2010 Geoff Merrill Bush Vine Grenache Rosé – A wine that seems bigger, darker and more savoury than its deep blush colour. Old vine Grenache vines offer ‘pink’ wafts but with a few darker notes of blackberries and liquorice. Fruit and acid on the palate completes this great rosé. Just don’t call it pink.