Rosé, beyond Provence
There’s more to rosé than the light, dry wines of Provence. From Sicily to Mudgee, rosé makers are drawing on a range of grapes to craft an even wider range of intriguing styles. Looking for love this summer? Think pink.
Rosé is simply pink wine, and its colour – which can range from ruby-pink to salmon to copper – is by no means an indicator of how it will taste. The colour results from the grapes used and the winemaker’s technique, and both are variable. Most commonly, rosé is made from red-skinned grapes and the maceration method, meaning the grapes are left in contact with the skins for some time after crushing. The skins leach colour to the wine. (Amber or orange wine is made by the same method, but from white-skinned grapes.)
There are two other ways besides maceration with the skins to make a rosé; the first is saignée (pronounced sen-yeh), which is French for “bleed”. In this process, a portion of the juice from red wine is removed (bled off) and fermented separately from the red wine to make rosé. In a sense, rosé made by this method is a by-product of red wine. Finally, rosé can be made by blending red and white wines, but this method is controversial, except when it comes to sparkling wines.
While we all know and love rosé from Provence, there are styles from across the world that are worthy of our attention, made from many different grapes. It’s time to look past the cliché of Provence and, in doing so, to set aside the idea that all rosé should look very pale and taste light and dry, like a typical Provence rosé. Here are our picks – the local and international rosés that we’re loving right now.
Eloquesta Mudgee Blush, 2019, Mudgee Australia
This wine is a combination of two beautifully aromatic grapes – muscat and viognier – that bring sun-dried apricots, jasmine and honeysuckle on the nose, and lingering grapefruit peel notes on the palate. A great match for fatty meat, such as Christmas roast pork.
$34.99, available to order from Bayswater Fine Wines, +61 (02) 9361 5063.
Château de Montfrin Rosé "á la Rêverie", 2019, Côtes du Rhône, France
Its name means “from the daydream”, and this stunning Côtes du Rhône grenache rosé has a richness to it that may indeed send you into a reverie, with blood orange rind, plum-like acidity, chalk, limestone and charred wood. Try this with a bowl of mussels or a plate of charcuterie.
$38, available to order from Global Grapevine, + 61 (02) 8353 8700.
Domaine Serge Laloue Sancerre Rosé, 2018, Sancerre, France
Most people associate Sancerre with sauvignon blanc, but a small amount of pinot noir is grown in this region, too, which is what makes this rosé. A fossilised oyster seabed that runs under the Loire Valley adds chalky limestone and sapid notes, and vanilla, redcurrant and kiwi fruit are present too. This is a rosé with a lovely long finish – a great one for freshly shucked oysters, or lobster.
$59.99, available to order from Camperdown Cellars, +61 (02) 9380 6133.
Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Etna Rosato, 2019, Sicily, Italy
The iron-rich volcanic soils of Mount Etna contribute great things to this rosé, which is made from nerello cappuccio and nerello mascalese – think graphite with ripe nectarine closer to the stone, lemon, and green walnuts. A structured, elegant, soft and beautifully balanced wine.
$46, Italian Wine Importers.
La Pieve Rosa Selvatica 2019 DOC, Tuscany, Italy
Malty, nutty and slightly leathery with mandarin fruit notes is how we like to describe this wine, which has soft, dry tannins from the sangiovese, and a certain richness. There is a level of acidity here that would make this wine great to drink all year long – with eggplant parmigiana in summer, or pappardelle with wild boar or duck ragu in the cooler months.
$30, Italian Wine Importers.
Scorpo Rosé, 2018, Mornington Peninsula, Australia
A rose made from shiraz grapes seems unusual for the Mornington Peninsula, which is renowned for its pinot noir. Nevertheless, this bright, juicy rosé is sublime – rich and velvety with hints of anise, ripe cherries and stone fruit, with almost a mossy meadow vibe.
$28, Scorpo Wines.
Image by Eatable.