The Future is Looking Rosé

Written by
Winsor Dobbin
February 16, 2017
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Rosé is the wine style without any rules – the Wild West of grapes and production techniques. It can be made from one grape, or a blend of as many grape styles as the winemaker wants. It can be sweet, like liquid fairy-floss; or pale, savoury and ultra-dry, as is the current fashion. Rosé may even be funky and textural if the winemaker wants to push the boundaries a little.

Multi-faceted Rosé

Grapes can be grown just about anywhere for Rosé, and are - from the warm, irrigated regions of the Riverland and Riverina, to cool-climate Tasmania – and can be made using a variety of different techniques in the winery.

And while there is no better time of the year to enjoy Rosé than summer, when a chilled Rosé has a maximum refreshment factor, it can also be enjoyed throughout the year. It is a versatile style and one of the most food-friendly around – and over the past decade more and more top-line producers have turned their hands to producing high-quality Rosés.

The best, like the stunning 2015 Turkey Flat Rosé from the Barossa Valley, the Riverland-produced Angove Nine Vines Grenache Shiraz Rosé and De Bortoli La Boheme Act Two Dry Pinot Rosé of the Yarra Valley are more than a match for the best imports from France and Spain, where Rosé-style wines have been enjoyed for hundreds of years.

Food friendly Rosé

Among the best food matches are Middle Eastern mezze plates and Lebanese dips. Visit the top Lebanese restaurants in Paris, like Noura, and you'll find that the vast majority of patrons drinking wine have opted for Rosé.

Now Australians have caught on, perhaps in part thanks to a local promotion called the Rosé Revolution, which helped alert drinkers to the charms of pale, dry Rosés. Subsequently, we have more choice than ever before.

From almost total obscurity to conventional fashion, the change has been remarkable. Now, even the manliest of chaps is happy to consume a glass of pink wine, perhaps influenced by a 'Real Men Drink Pink’ campaign from a couple of years ago, or perhaps because of tired stereotypes. Rosé is so on-trend that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie paired with a winemaker in Provence so they could have their own label Rosé, dubbed The Pink Floyd. It just doesn't get any hipper.  

As you'd expect from a wine style that originated in warm Mediterranean climates like France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, Rosé is probably best enjoyed al fresco with a range of dishes from the aforementioned Lebanese platters, to char-grilled vegetables, spicy sausages, and just about anything that is cooked on a barbecue. It also marries well with picnics, poultry and even paella.

Great value Rosé

And despite its new-found level of popularity, Rosé remains reasonably priced across the board, with a good selection of Australian labels available for under $20.

Among the best budget buys are the Fifth Leg Rosé from Western Australia, dry but with hints of sweet fruit; the luminous off-dry Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley from McLaren Vale; the summer berries-and-cream style of the Deep Woods Harmony Rosé and the Angove Nine Vines Rosé, a blend that is one of Australia's best wine bargains regardless of the vintage. The juicy Bird in Hand Pinot Rosé from the Adelaide Hills is another standout.

Something slightly special

The Turkey Flat Rosé is something of a benchmark, for just an extra few dollars - this blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Dolcetto is all about delicious cranberry crispness.

Made very much in the savoury French style, the Dominique Portet Fontaine Rosé from the Yarra Valley is extremely dry and elegant, while trend-setters will love the innate style of the fragrant Foster e Rocco Rosé from Heathcote in Victoria. It is also worth checking out the Spinifex Rosé from the Barossa Valley, salmon pink with classic Provencal characters; dry and nuanced.