In an age that’s becoming more and more polarised, meeting in the middle is increasingly rare. Fortunately, when it comes to wine, in-between the extremes of red and white, lies a vast landscape of refreshing possibilities.
All you need to do to find them, is stop and smell the rosé…
The quintessential happy medium, rosé is neither too serious nor too light. Neither red, nor white, this blushing type of wine enables all who enjoy it to see the world through rosé-tinted lenses. And what a wonderful world it can be!
Originating in wine’s famed birthplace, Provence, rosé wines have been a firm favourite for over two millennia. Made from any red grape (from Pinotage to Pinot Noir), the range of shades that result are as varied as the flavours. There are three different ways this type of wine can be made:
This method is most common. Red grapes are pressed and left in contact with their skins for a limited time. Think of the grape skins like a tea bag - the more exposure to the skins, the more colour and flavour will be imparted to the wine.
Capable of producing some of the longest lasting rosé wines, the Saignée method is actually a by-product of red winemaking. During the fermentation of a red wine about 10% of the juice is bled off. This process leaves a higher ratio of skin contact on the remaining juice, making the resulting red wine richer and bolder. The leftover blend wine or “Saignée” is then fermented into rosé. Wines made like this are typically much darker than other types of rosé and also more savoury.
By simply blending white and red wines after they have been separately fermented, a rosé can be produced.
With so much diversity in just the methods of making rosé – not to mention the grapes that can be used, and the myriad of styles that these can be translated into – the result is an almost endless variety of flavour profiles and food pairing options. Ranging from semi-sweet to dry and from raspberry red to crystalline pink – long gone are the days of rosé being pegged as just a one-dimensional, pink drink reserved for book clubs and bridal showers.
No matter which rosé you choose, it’s best to serve ice-cold. And depending on the type, paired with anything from pizza with fresh toppings, to a Pavlova laden with freshly whipped cream and raspberries. A more serious rosé would even do well beside a juicy steak.
Rosé Rocks! is South Africa’s first dedicated rosé wine competition that seeks to recognise excellence in SA’s rosé winemaking. From their top winners this year, I’ve selected my current favourites for the sizzling summer months ahead…
WADE BALES’ TOP ROSÉ PICKS:
GROOTE POST PINOT NOIR ROSE 2018 - ROSE ROCKS GOLD MEDAL
After whole bunch pressing the grapes to minimize tannins and maintain fruit and elegance in the wine, only the first half of pressed juice was used to minimize the extraction of colour. Rose water and strawberry cream flavours on the nose carry through to the elegant palate and soft finish.
MULDERBOSCH CAB SAUV ROSE 2018 - ROSE ROCKS DOUBLE GOLD
These Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards are managed specifically with rosé production in mind. Once pressed, the juice is handled like Sauvignon Blanc, heightening the vibrant, zesty aromas and fresh mineral palate.
From its burnished copper hues to its palate of balanced, succulent fruit – this is summer in sip form.
SOUTH HILL DRY ROSE 2018 - ROSE ROCKS DOUBLE GOLD
Harvested specifically with rosé in mind, grapes are destemmed, crushed and receive just over 1 hour of skin contact. The result is an elegant rosé with a subtle pink hue. Refreshingly dry, bursts of cherry, strawberry and tropical fruit aromas are followed by a fresh, juicy palate and an enticingly clean finish.
ZEVENWACHT 7EVEN ROSE 2018 - ROSE ROCKS DOUBLE GOLD
From its delicate, salmon pink colour to the subtle aromas of rose petals, this rosé is as sublime as it is soft. Expect fresh ripe strawberries on the palate, followed by a lingering finish.
Visit Wade Bales Fine Wines and Spirits to get the best of the bunch.